Chapter 2 - The Road to Perendith

Chapter 2 - The Road to Perendith

A Chapter by Leigh
"

Lord Virintis travels to Perendith to tell the King the news he has received.

"
Before Virintis went, he said his good-byes and spent the last evening with his third wife, Tyhara. She lived in a small cottage on the edge of the woodland that surrounded the Manor and would not, like his other two wives, live with him there. She was independent and strong minded; not a conventionalist and flouted tradition. They had no children together and Virintis surmised that that was to do with his age, he was forty-eight, whereas she was only thirty-five. He had met Tyhara later on in life and straight away wished he'd met her at the beginning when he was young, if he had he would have stayed with her and her alone. She was his conscience, his council and his light of solace in a darkness of all-consuming confusion.

"I have made you a strong broth for your journey," Tyhara said handing him a steaming clay bowl. He sat at a small wooden table in the corner of her low cottage, which had only one main room.

"I don't know how long I'll be gone exactly," Virintis said half to himself and half to her.

"I wish I was coming, I haven't been to Perendith for several years," she said smiling, her voice bright and happy.

"Most people around here have never been, you're lucky. Anyway it's way too dangerous now," he looked down at the table and only let his eyes wander to find the bread she had put out for him.

"It was that learning I had, I found myself up there two or three times. There was no trouble on the way," she sat at the table, watching him.

"Oh and was it worth it?" he said sipping the hot broth, hunched over his food. He knew the subject she had taken, but didn't mention it as he knew it would set her off talking about it.

"Yes, I think so, well I know so, you've seen the results, haven't you?" she said leaning closer, encouraging him to reply positively.

"Um...yes...but so far none of those things have been proven or come true though," he said quietly as he ate, not giving eye contact.

"No, not yet, that's because they are long term predictions," she looked at him wisely, her eyes searching out his for meaning and although he hid his thoughts well, she detected his disbelief. "Madam Reasse is an incredible woman. She taught me everything I know," she said in defiance.

The thoughts in his mind formed into a sentence and before he knew it they were out; he couldn’t stop them "You didn't predict that bird coming in,"

"No," she said looking cross. Not so much at not having predicted it, but at him for poking fun at her. “That was literally out of the blue, no one could…”

"Or that they would find new lands,"

"No, but I believe, know rather it to be true," she said calmly, concentrating and regaining herself. She knew what he was up to.

"And how do you know that then?" he said sitting up straight and looking directly at her, ready to break into a smile.

"I have seen the new lands by following the methods taught to me by Madam Reasse,"

"Why didn't you say anything then?" he said nodding, his words sharp.

"Because I have seen a lot of things. I see people flying, people dying, great famines and floods. That is why." she said eyeballing him.

"Then you must learn to be more accurate and more confident, your predictions could be of great use. What more do you know of the new lands?"

"All I have seen is that the lands are large and full of terror. Men would be better off not going there,"

"They are not deserted then? These lands you see," Virintis said scrapping the bowl with the wooden spoon and sliding the bowl across the table to her.

"I don't see any people there, the lands are not deserted though as I see eyes watching through trees. Large eyes not small. Necron may see more. Shall we have some buttered fruit bread and wine, Cir.?"

"That would be nice. He's not a soothsayer like you is he?" Virintis said smiling happily and wondering how long he would have to be away.

"No, but he just knows things, he seems to know a bit of everything. He believes in things and uses them to give guidance to the King. You will see,"

After Virintis had finished eating they sat on rocking chairs, holding hands on the small veranda at the back of the cottage. The rickety wooden veranda overlooked a host of towering trees that blackened the night and gave off a blanket of warm calm. The sounds of small creatures scurrying around created a low continual sound that broke the near silence.

"I love it out here on a night like this," she said.

"I will miss you Tyra, he said squeezing her hand.

"And your other wives, will you miss them?" she asked.

Virintis stared into the darkness, thinking long and hard and then looked at her in the darkness. Their eyes couldn’t see each other. "I see many women, but you’re never off my mind,” as he finished talking he saw the glint of her eye. He kissed her, she tasted of sultanas and fruit bread.

¥¥¥¥¥

The road to Perendith was seven hundred and four miles long from the city of Virin and would take several days to travel on horseback. Ciren Virintis took four men with him and rode south at speed. His men were: Bran, two of his best swordsmen; Balzor and Boaze and a forward scout called Sean Emerson. After the third day they of hard riding they reduced speed to a canter and after that slowed even further to a gentle trot.

"Tomorrow we should reach Torozzo and the day after the Black Castle," Virintis said. He looked around at the flat earthy land, scanning the horizon. In the far distance were low hills, the sky was overcast.

"Good, we are making progress then," Bran said impatiently looking at a broken wagon by the roadside. The incessant heat was getting to him and he felt saddle sore and tired. “Sorry I mean, we are making progress, my Lord,”

“There’s no need to call me Lord all the time. You are a friend and friends should be equals, it gets on my nerves and makes me feel uncomfortable, if anything call me Ciren,”

“Yes of course,” Bran said slightly taken aback.

"We will break for camp soon, but not here we are too far out in the open,"

"Yes," Bran said dutifully. As they slowly trotted on the silhouette of a lone rider appeared on the crest of a low hill, two hundred yards ahead. He held a long spear and at the top of it a narrow tapered yellow and orange flag fluttered; he sat on his horse defiantly watching them.

"Tell me Bran are we still in The Kingdom of the North?"

"Yes we are,"

"Then why is that man not displaying the colours of our Kingdom?"

"I don't know…Lord, he might be lost,"

"He is not lost and also why did the forward scout not pick him up?"

"I don't know that either, Ciren," Bran said.

"Balzor go and investigate," Virintis shouted over his shoulder, anxiously he touched the grip of his sword. Balzor rode by kicking up a dust cloud as his horse quickly reached a full gallop. "Be cautious, you are needed," as his words left his mouth the unknown rider turned away and quickly disappeared.

"Yes Lord Virintis," Balzor called as he rode up the low incline of the road ahead. The remaining three men brought their horses to a stop as Balzor went on to look for Sean Emerson, the unknown horseman and whatever lay ahead. They waited and to pass the time Bran told Virintis about his life. His early years had been spent living in a modest family home in one of the suburbs of Virin with his mother and father, brother and sister. When he was seven he had been sent to the town of Barathos on Whale Island to study the old scrolls. The monks at the library there had taught him to read and write and to decipher the old languages and interpret the ancient maps. He told Virintis that some of the ancient maps showed other lands outside the known world. The maps were thought to be mythological, but there were some who believed them to be real.

Virintis thought of what Tyhara had said and wondered what the maps showed. “What was on these maps? And why haven’t I seen them?”

“They were vague and faded, some contradicted others. I don’t know why you haven’t seen them, they are there to view on request. When I was there people came in to the libraries and studied the maps,”

“But what was on them?” Virintis insisted.

Bran looked around dreamily, trying to recall some of the maps he had last seen when he was sixteen. On the ground a few feet away from him, half buried in the earth was the corpse of a soldier. “Most were consistent they showed the known lands of the known world with the sea around. They showed the four kingdoms, with Perendith at the centre. There were maps of the islands; Tullis, Iox and Whale island itself. There were two other maps showing a great land mass which had a large lake in it, a lake as large as a sea. In the middle of that lake was an island, an island named Perendithia,”

Virintis went to question Bran again, but at that moment Balzor came riding towards them over the low brow of the road. He rode slowly and had a body slung over his saddle in front of him. He held something large in his hand. As he got closer they could see that what he held was a man’s head. It appeared to be the head of the lone rider. The severed neck of it dripped with blood, the face was pallid white and the shocked eyes were half open. The man over his saddle was Sean Emerson, the forward scout. The three men cantered forward to greet him with mixed reactions.

Boaze rode forward joyfully, laughing and spurring his horse on. “Well done Balz., you bagged your man,” he said looking at the others for approval, but none came.

Bran’s face was white and he began to vomit at the sight of the head. His eyes looked to and away from Balzor, who now was before them looking triumphant. “I feel sick,” he managed to say as his horse stopped itself. Balzor and Boaze laughed at him and Balzor dangled the head in his direction to make his torment worse.

“Do you think this is funny?” Virintis asked sharply after considering what to say. “Do you realise what you have done?”

“No, I mean yes Lord Virintis,” Balzor said lowering the head.

“I said investigate, not make trouble. In case you haven’t noticed there are only five of us, we are not an army, but there are likely to be many raiders out there, just over that hill,” Virintis said in a loud whisper, looking around scanning the horizon. “We’d better keep moving. Is he alright?” he said pointing to Sean who was beginning to groan.

“Yes lord, he’s not bleeding, he got knocked out. Couldn’t find his horse,” Balzor said matter of factly. Boaze smiled as they all trotted off. As they went on in the silence of the mood of Virintis they looked for Sean Emerson’s horse, but the terrain was more hilly making it difficult to look around and it didn’t seem likely that it would be found. Boaze scouted ahead, the hills became steeper and the road more winding. As they broke the crest of a hill, after several more miles, they were confronted by a line of six horsemen with spears decorated with the same yellow and orange tapered flags. As the group surrounded Lord Virintis to protect him, Sean Emerson was woken by the noise and slowly sat up in front of Balzor, and then the arrows came in. The arrows came from behind and from the sides, not ahead where the unmoving line of horsemen were. Their shields went up and they crouched into the flanks of their horses.

“Form up on me and well charge their line,” Virintis said from the centre of the cluster of them as he drew his sword. Bran was in the middle with him and also drew his sword; he had the look of fear and death in him, but calmly steadied his horse that was rearing up and kept his shield steady in protection. At that moment the arrows stopped and they relaxed, lowering their swords, as they did a few loose arrows flew in. One struck Balzor in the neck and screaming, he clutched the blood that spurted out and slumped off his horse leaving Sean Emerson on his own on it. As he fell he handed Sean Emerson his large silver shield. They looked down at Balzor on the ground as he took his last gasps of air, the life draining out of him. Virintis looked behind and saw three archers readying to reload their bows, standing solidly behind them were two sturdy axemen. “Come on now, we’ll ride through,” They charged with their swords ready, but were faced with a volley of spears that made them stop in the road, raising their shields. One well aimed spear sliced straight through Bran’s chest, killing him instantly.

“Aaaaahhhhh,” Bran cried out as he looked down at himself, his sword falling to the ground in a loud clank. He fell forward on his horse, making it lose control and gallop off in alarm. Eventually in the scrubland by the roadside he fell to the ground. The three remaining men charged on, reaching the line of five spearmen, who had drawn their swords. Sean Emerson, Boaze and Virintis’s sword crashed into them heavily, they swung wildly and desperately in their attempt to get reprisal. But they were outnumbered and the archers and axemen closed in around and behind them; they became surrounded. Boaze was by far the best fighter and managed to kill one of the mounted spearmen by pushing, blocking and thrusting in quick controlled movements, but took an injury to his arm from a sword stroke in doing so. Virintis fought two mounted spearmen and was gradually getting beaten back, while Sean Emerson was on the edge of the melee and was retreating.

“Come back Sean Emerson,” Boaze shouted. “The fight is here,” he blocked two sword strokes with his shield and a third directed at Virintis with his own sword. Sean Emerson had moved further away and was readying to gallop off as arrows flew at him, he slung Balzor’s shield on his back and bolted back along the way they had come, riding straight through the archers and axemen who were taken unaware.

“You are an outcast, betraying your Lord in his moment of need. You are an outcast forever and a wanted man,” Virintis shouted at him, his voice full of rage, but he talked to a disappearing cloud of dust.

“He is the only one of you that will live,” one of the mounted spearmen said with a grisly smile. Boaze and Virintis ignored him and turned their horses around looking for the best angle of attack as the mounted spearmen and axemen fanned out making a complete circle with the archers pointing their bows behind.

“One last time,” Virintis said to Boaze as they readied themselves for a final onslaught. An axeman came running at the hind quarters of Boaze’s horse, his axe held high, but as he approached Boaze swung around, letting him run through and leaning down low, sliced his head clean off. His head rolled at the feet of the four mounted spearmen and Boaze charged at them, hacking and stabbing; Virintis followed closely behind. The tip of Boaze’s sword found one of the mounted spearmen and he retreated back from the group and all of a sudden the numbers were more even.

“Fall back,” the lead mounted spearman shouted. The arrows came again, but this time they were directed at the horses and Virintis and Boaze crashed to the ground. Recovering themselves shortly afterwards they knew they were at an end. The second axeman ran at them splitting Boaze’s shield and bringing him to his knees, Boaze held the man at bay, but was speared three times from the mounted spearmen. He fell to the ground, tried to get up, but collapsed, his face in the dirt. Virintis went to him and seeing he was dead, was now on his own. Clutching his shield close to his body, he saw his arm was blood stained and his hand badly cut, looking up he saw the ring of men close in around him.

¥¥¥¥¥

Leorra was taller than most men and not thick set and muscular like a lot of warriors made themselves. He was slim and had a wiry inner strength that allowed him to move with confidence and grace, which made the world around him an easy place to be. This belied his age of nearly forty, giving him the look of a much younger man, but more than that he wore fine clothes and light well made armour that fitted his status of Warlord with lands. Like all soldiers he carried his sword on his left side, but was in fact left sided. It was harder to draw from the left, but gave him a short element of surprise that had over the years bought a few seconds advantage that had made a great difference. He would engage in battle using his right hand at first and then switch to his left to give himself more agility, skill and power. It was a right-sided world and to fit into that world he wore a short sword on his right hip.

His most defining and characteristic was his calm, cool nature and everyone knew him by this. To compound this he never said much in company and when he did it was usually right and of some importance. Because of this people followed him in good times and times of trouble and up until now it had led to quiet victories. Leorra was a veteran of the old wars and had defended the Black Castle with Lord Virintis in the final battle there. It had been his ingenuity and stamina that had swayed the fight in favour of the north and kept the north lands safe. Lord Virintis had repaid Leorra with lands; the island of Ioxa.

¥¥¥¥¥

"It's a stormy, rainy day all day and then at the last there is a sunset that warms and lights the trees." Leorra said looking at the long shadows. He looked around for his aide, Brice, but Brice wasn't there, he had lagged far behind. "Brice come on, I don't want to stop here tonight," As he reached the top of a low hill he looked ahead and saw what he had been fearing for a long while. A man was crouching in the road with his sword up to defend himself against three others on horseback and several others on foot. It was a man he recognised at once.

“Brice, the crossbow now,” Leorra called loudly over his shoulder. Brice galloped on to catch him up, unbuckling the crossbow from his horse. The man ahead was now down on the ground, his sword knocked out of his hand, his attackers circling. Around him were dead men.
Leorra held out his arm not taking his eyes off his targets that hadn’t seen him.When he felt the heavy crossbow in his hand he gave his next order without looking at Brice. “Ready the long bow and reload the crossbow,” Taking aim he steadied himself and his horse and felt a sense of calm wash over him. He smoothly fired the bolt at the furthest mounted spearman and then swapped weapons with Brice. Quickly he aimed the arrow at the next furthest mounted spearman, stretching the awkward sized bow as far as he could. The arrow flew where he had aimed it, finding the chest of the next man. He looked around at Brice, who was winding the crossbow to its pre set maximum tension. “I’ll do that, take a shot with the long bow, but Brice shook his head. They swapped weapons again anyway, realising they had now been seen. Now Leorra’s targets were moving and so he chose the most static of them; the axeman. The heavy lead bolt struck true and the shocked axeman stumbled to his knees, crying out in agony. At that the archers scattered and took aim at them from crouched defensive positions and Leorra was still acutely aware that they were still outnumbered. He trotted steadily forward as the gang of raiders readied themselves to continue the fight. Virintis had got to his feet and had found his sword and shield.

“Brice, musket,” Leorra calmly said. Brice handed him a long barrelled musket. Leorra cocked the hammer and steadied the barrel on his half raised right arm. He took a long time to aim, getting his eye in the sights. An arrow flew at him, missing his shoulder by inches. ‘BLAM’, the musket fired, smoke filled the air and one of the mounted spearmen was shot and was down on the ground. Only one mounted spearmen remained, he saw he was now at a disadvantage and turned to go. The archers, who wore light green trousers and brown hessian tunics followed him into the scrubland, firing the occasional arrow as they retreated.

"Come on Brice, follow, I need you with me,"

"Brice, my AXE now," Leorra shouted. Brice cantered his horse to him, straining to hold the large double bladed axe at arms length. Leorra grabbed it and chased after the easy prey of the long black haired archers. Lightly clad they scattered fast in all directions away from the road like antelope away from a lion, but as Leorra charged at them his axe found the back of one unlucky running man and his blood curdling scream was heard by Virintis as Brice tended his wounds. Leorra circled back to find Virintis cursing the name of Sean Emerson.

“Leorra, thank the gods that you came. Who sent you or did you come for a ride in the country?” Virintis said as the two men gripped each others arms in greeting.

“Your wife sent me, lord,”

“Tyhara?”

“No, Lady Amoros,” Leorra said half laughing. Virintis looked at him in disbelief and then down to the ground, not having expected her interference or care. He had not seen Lady Amoros, his first wife for a month, but it seemed she knew more about him and what was going on in the world than he did. Leorra returned his bloodied axe to Brice and twisted around in his saddle, looking to see if any raiders were returning. “Make ready all weaponry Brice,” Brice put the axe in its sleeve and nodded as he finished knotting a bandage on Virintis’s hand.

“I’m glad you're here, you have saved me once again,”

“Lord,”

“We must move,”

“Torrozo is less than two hours away,” Leorra advised, taking his rains and getting ready to move off. The three men carried on to the town of Torrozo and although the landscape had changed to suit an ambush they saw nothing of any raiders. In the town the people were quiet and were not surprised about the raid Lord Virintis and his men had endured.

In the crowded tavern that night, under the protection of the Torozzo house guard, the three men looked around warily at the locals drinking, dancing and making music and it seemed that most of the men had long black hair, some wore light green trousers.


© 2016 Leigh


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Very awesome read. I like how your writing flows together, to make me visualize everything that's going on. Many stories on here do that, and that's why most of the stories I read on here are good because you all are very talented and gifted, I visualized everything as I was reading it. Great writing. On to another topic. I have a website where I post my short stories, and blogs on. I also have ads on the website. I was wondering if you can go to my website, and click on any ad. you don't have to buy anything, I promise you won't get any viruses, all it is is google adsense on my website, and the more clicks on the ads, the more it helps grow my website. My website is bwlawson.com I appreciate it, that you would be taking part in helping my craft, business, product, and brand grow. Thank you!

Posted 3 Years Ago


Leigh

3 Years Ago

Thanks for your review - Great website btw
In Chapter 3 Lord Virintis arrives in the capital, Perendith and lays a peace stone.

Posted 3 Years Ago


I'm not one for long stories without something exciting in every paragraph, but your battle scene kept me going long enough to finish it. Leorra carries quite an arsenal with him which struck me as funny and overkill. The story still needs a bit of grammatical polishing. If you don't mind, I'm going to fix a copy and then send it to you and see what you think.

Posted 3 Years Ago


This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Leigh

3 Years Ago

That's very kind and I'm glad you like Leorra. Grammatical errors? Me? never :-)
I tend to wr.. read more
Amanda Patschke

3 Years Ago

I did chapter 1. The first paragraph really bothered me but now it doesn't anymore. Its important to.. read more
Beautiful chapter, very interesting and entertaining. Good description of the fight, loved it, Be. :)

Rudi

Posted 3 Years Ago


Leigh

3 Years Ago

Thanks Rudi
Be,
I am very impressed, again I thought I was reading Bernard Cromwell. You writing is tight, polished and has a professional edge. You descriptions give the reader profound imagery. The dialogue is precise and your characters are real and interesting.
The battle scenes were well defined, full of realistic action and excitement. Your history of the area lends itself to the accountability of your story. I enjoyed the read and give you high marks.
Barnes and Noble had better prepare shelf space for your works.
Richie B.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Leigh

3 Years Ago

Thank you, I am writing chapter 3
well b it was interesting all the way through.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Leigh

3 Years Ago

Hoorah for your review and I am glad you enjoyed this chapter
This was another good installation to your story, it does keep a reader intrigued. There was bit to much "telling" and not "showing" at times, as far as describing what the characters were doing/thinking, but it's up to you if you wish to change that. I'm just nitpicky about it, so take that with a grain of salt. Other than that, I'll read the next chapter soon.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Leigh

3 Years Ago

Got your point, the story will evolve to include plenty of action
very interesting story! will read the others in time

Posted 3 Years Ago


Leigh

3 Years Ago

Thank you very much

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Added on May 30, 2016
Last Updated on June 1, 2016
Tags: Land, lands, sea, adventure, beyond, endless, king, kingdom, kingdoms


Author

Leigh
Leigh

Bristol, United Kingdom



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