Chapter 1 - The Paladin is Chosen

Chapter 1 - The Paladin is Chosen

A Chapter by Richard Linsley III
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Erik Padrir is a young paladin initiate about to be set on his test of honor. A set of crucial mistakes though leaves him with nothing.

"

Swords, flails and maces crashed on shields and armor.  Young trainees prepared for their final test.  This test would decide the ones who would become the next representative of their god. Most practiced their skills at melee, while others polished and maintained their armor.

    "Form up!" shouted Erik Padrir.  The oldest of the trainees, he held the rank of Squire Master.  A youngling himself, he still required his peers to obey his commands to the letter. As the students fell into ranks, he checked several to make sure their armor was correct before falling into his own spot.

    "Sire, the unit is present and accounted for.  Ready for muster, orders and inspection."  Erik saluted the Paladin Commander and stood by for orders.

"You have all done well," the Paladin Commander started. He stopped for a moment to collect his words.

    "Young ones, this final test is not the normal one given to the younger class, but necessity has forced us to change our ways of thinking," remarked the Commander.

    Normally, his face was a source of inspiration and mercy to those who knew him well.  This time, the pressures of recent events reduced it to barely more than a scowl.

    "This can't be good," thought the young initiate, Erik Padrir.  "If they are changing the rules, then they have no basis to test us with. I have to be among the ones they choose."

    "You are all to separate and go to the locations to be given you in a few minutes," The Paladin Commander held up a couple scrolls from a pile to his side. "You will carry these messages with you, to round up the scattered forces of our Order for an impending battle with the forces of darkness.  You are our chosen emissaries.  I cannot impress this fact upon you enough.  These messages must be delivered within three days.  Failure to do so will result in the loss of life that cannot be accepted."

     Erik took his place in line and waited until he progressed to the forward portion of the line.  When he saw the destination, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

    "Trié?  You want me to go to Trié?  That is two and a half days hard ride from here."  Erik couldn't believe his ears. Trié was the furthest of all the assignments.  It would be possible to arrive on time, but not by much.  He would have to ration food, water and travel as light as he could to keep from overtiring his horse, Clystine.  Carrying the heavy ceremonial armor necessary for entrance into their temples was out of the question.

    "It sounds as if you have a real task on your hands."  The Paladin Commander looked hard into his eyes. "I wouldn't send you there if I didn't think that you were capable of performing the mission."

    "It will be done." said Erik. He mounted Clystine and headed in the direction of Trié.  If he was to ride hard for today he should have enough time to rest Clystine every few hours on the second day and make it to Trié by the morning of the third day.

     As he traveled through the city to the main gates, he noticed a little boy on the steps of a home crying.  Erik guided his horse over to the side and approached the child.   

    "Little one, why are you crying?"  Erik dried the child's tears with a portion of his own shirt.

     "My cat ran away, now I can't find him." whined the boy. "I am afraid something might have happened to him."  The tears began to well up in his eyes again.

     "Now, now.  I have some time.  Let's go see if we can find him." said Erik. “How long has he been gone?”  After walking around for a while and asking questions, Erik was able to find the child's cat that was hiding in a thick bush near the house, with four new kittens.  

     "Hmm, look’s like he is a she.  And, I think your family just became bigger.  See.” said Erik, moving a branch so the boy could see his pet, and her new family. “She didn't leave you; she just had to find a place to have her family for a while." said Erik.

     The child just sat there watching the new kittens stretching and mewing for their mother’s attention.

    “I would love to stay and watch and play, but unfortunately, I must go.” said Erik, turning to return to his horse. 

    “Wait one second, mister." the child said, just before he mounted his horse. "Let me see your hands.  My mom is a reader, and she shows me things from time to time”

    "Okay, here you go little one." mused Erik showing the child his hands. He thought he would just play along to make the child feel better.  The child studied his hands for a while and looked worried a bit.

    "Did you see if I become a Paladin?" asked Erik.

     "Well, it says here; a Paladin you will be, love you will find… finally, and life-long yours shall be.  Evil will surround your life forevermore, and you will be a part of." recited the child tracing different lines with a finger around Erik's hand. “There is a problem.  You will make a mistake that will cost you everything.”

     "That's good to know," said Erik "I don't know that much about the being evil part, I might be a little too busy fighting it!"  He lightly nudged Clystine in the direction of the town walls.  As he looked back the child smiled and waved goodbye to his champion as he headed out to perform his mission.


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     Finally, Erik found himself outside of town. He headed west toward the mountains.  He would have to turn north after a ways but now it would be toward the mountains.  A good place tonight to camp would be in the foothills.  The roadways to the mountains were clear enough to allow Erik to make a quick time of traveling toward the foothills.  The trees made a fine scent that Erik took in with every breath.  Birds could be heard calling to each other.  If it weren't for his mission to Trié, Erik would have slowed down to enjoy the scenery.

     Up ahead, Erik saw a column of black smoke rise above the trees.  It seemed out of place because usually a campfire would have been grey or white smoke for the burning wood.  Black smoke could only be a fire caused by burning oil or some other fuel.

     As he approached the site of the fire, he could see a burning wagon.  The wagon was overturned and the contents spilled on the ground.  Some foodstuffs and clothes were spilled on the ground and across the roadway.  Looking over the wreckage, Erik almost missed the soft moan come from underneath the front of the wagon. Running to the front of the wagon, he found an old man pinned down by the front portion of the wagon.

    Erik struggled to lift the wagon off of the elderly man and finally righted it.  Looking to the old man, his condition seemed bleak.  He barely was able to stay within the bonds of life.   After a short while, the old man finally stirred.  Erik hastened to finish the last of the bandages to bind the wounds.

    "Sir," he began. "Can you understand me?"  When the man nodded slightly, he continued.  "What happened here? If you can tell me."

     "My daughter and I…" began the old man.  “We were... traveling here when we were ambushed by bandits.  Have you seen my daughter?  You must find her."  The old man struggled to get up but Erik restrained him just enough to lay him back down.

    "Sir, I will find your daughter, just relax and rest." implored Erik.  "Do you know where they took her?"  The old man, barely able to take a breath, lifted up his head and an arm to point the way.  His hand pointed into a thick bunch of trees.  This would prove difficult. Erik was not taught to track people or animals during his training.  He did give his word though, and now he must keep it or die trying.

     A few minutes later, Erik set out after the bandits.  The old man's wounds were bandaged and he hoped that the old man would be alright until he came back.  Fortunately for Erik, there were more than enough bandits in the attacking party to leave a clear trail as to where they went.  Erik kept inside the tree line to keep them from finding him outright.  He could see their camp.  It wasn't too far from the main road.

     The main camp was at the entrance of a large cave. Bonfires marked different sections of the camp.  There were a few fires deeper in the cave.  At first Erik was unable to find the old man’s daughter but laughter in the far corner gave him a fair idea of where to look.  The bandits had her tied to a tree in a corner of the clearing.  Her arms were tied above her head which was slumped so that her blonde hair hid her face and tears. She had another set of ropes tied around her waist securing her to the tree.  She seemed to be okay, although frightened at what lay in her near future.  The men were busy tossing lots to see who would be the winner of them all.


    Anger welled up inside of Erik’s heart to see such a sight.  The thought itself was abhorrent in his mind.  Looking around he counted at least fifty men, a dozen women and a few dozen children.  There were too many people around to just challenge each of them all at once.  However, this woman would be at the mercy of whichever one they chose as being the best of them all.

     Not knowing the best route to take in this matter, and not wanting to wait any longer, Erik stepped out into the clearing. An alarm was quickly raised around the camp; weapons were readied and brought to bear. Erik was grabbed from behind and tied down.  He was able to shake off a couple of his attackers before someone knocked him off of his feet.

     “Oh, ho! What do we have here?” said an older bandit.  This one looked like he commanded at least a little respect from the group.

     “What you have is a lot of trouble.” replied Erik, the anger in his voice making it a low growl.  “I have come to return that woman to her father.  Let her and I free, and I promise you and your band will live to see another day in peace.”  His final remark caused laughter to roll through the wooded area from the bandit community.

     “So, let me get this straight.” mused the bandit raising his hand to silence the group.  “You came here to take her off of our hands.  Hmm, you must be really young at the 'Damsel in Distress' heroism stuff, child.  Did you really think you were going to win against all of us?”

     “If I have to, I will take each and every one of you down to the Underworld with me.”  came the unerring reply.  Erik struggled to get back to his feet, the answer for which was getting a quick kick from behind to place him into a kneeling position in front of the Bandit leader.

     “Is that so? And what do you have that will make me believe otherwise?” the leader looked at the young pup with an amused grin on his face.

     “Faith, that my god will protect me in my time of need.” This time, more raucous laughter came from the group.

     “Child, I like your spirit, but the gods don’t come here for a reason.  In fact, they don’t come here ever at all.” chided the bandit leader. “We are the outcast.  The dregs of human society.  Here, we make the rules.  Do you think that a god, much less anyone else, is going to care what we do?  But, just to prove that we aren’t without, what do you call it… valor… honor?  Eh, something like that.  I will make a deal with you.  I choose someone for you to fight with.  You win; you get the girl to do what ever your heart pleases with her.  My people get to see a little sport.  I win; she’s mine for the rest of her life and you can go and explain why she isn’t going to come home to her lil' old daddy.”

     “I... I can’t make that decision.” stammered Erik.  None of this situation fell into what he was trained for. “I need to talk with the lady.”

    “What, do you need a kiss from your lady-fair?” scoffed the bandit.  “Would her handkerchief be enough of a token for your bravery in action?  What? Do you think this is a request between gentlemen?  Ladies and Gentlemen, the reluctant hero!  Let's see how well he fairs with Borus.”

     The bandit leader picked Erik up by his shirt threw him into the clearing.  The bandits began to form a ring of people around him.    One of the bandits threw a knife down at Erik to cut his bonds with.  Very quickly, Erik got the knife and began to work on his ropes.

    “What is a Boroos?” Erik cut the ropes from his hands and looked around. There were people everywhere.  One person pushed his way through the gathering crowd.  This creature was huge, muscles and dark hair was everywhere.  This thing barely looked human.  It was now apparent what it was that tipped over the wagon on the road.

     “Tsk, tsk." chided the leader of the troupe. "In our tongue, a Boroos is… like an idiot. But a Borus now that is a different matter.”  He turned to look at Borus. "I think he just called you an idiot.”

     “Uh oh.” a wide-eyed Erik now ran for his life as an angered Borus charged at him.  All Erik knew was that a huge hulking beast of a man was now after him.  The smell of sweat and the large breaths let him know that the person was just behind him. When Erik reached the wall of people, he turned to meet the creature and locked arms and shoulders with him.  The next few minutes were a series of shuffling feet and a tug-of-war match between the two competitors.  Borus easily outmatched Erik in size and strength, and proceeded to push Erik around the match arena. It was barely enough to just be able to stay up on two feet rather than try anything with the hulk of a man.

    "This is not going my way." thought Erik.  "If I don't do something fast, then he is going to win, and she won't be going home."  Beads of sweat had begun to drop from his brow as this fight continued.  Erik could hardly get a breath in when the next blow landed, knocking him around the arena.

     When Borus knocked Erik down off of his feet, he took a moment to pity the fallen warrior and started to flirt with the girls in the crowd.  At one point, as Erik was stumbling back to his feet, Borus and the girls giggled about a joke that was said at Erik’s expense.

     Hmm,” Thought Erik.  “I wonder.” As he finished standing up Borus charged again toward him.  This time, however; instead of locking arms and chance being thrown around more, he ducked under Borus’ arms and picked him up by the waist.  The sound of the two bodies hitting the ground caused a few people to groan.

     A ground fight began with a flurry and after several moments, Erik finally was able to get on top and began to run his hands up and down the sides trying to tickle his opponent into submission.  Raucous laughter erupted from the group as their champion screamed and flailed to get this being off of him that was tickling him.

     Crying and laughing, Borus finally called for mercy from the young warrior, who slowly was able to make it to his feet again.

     “You… have promised me… the woman… to take back to her father.” stumbled Erik as he tried to stand up, instead falling back down to a sitting position.

     “Hahahaha.” laughed the bandit leader.  “For that show, you may take with you anything you can carry!”  Protests from the bandit group were met with a stern look by the leader which quickly calmed their thoughts to the contrary.

    The tired young paladin walked over to the young lady, cut her bondages down from the tree trunk and picked her up into his arms.  The walk out of the clearing was hard enough and he had to put the young lady down shortly afterward.

     “I’m sorry, I didn’t introduce myself.  My name is Erik.” he began “Your dad sent me to find you and bring you back.  Are you okay?” Her quick nods let him know that for the time being she was okay.

    Erik led her out of the woods and back to the wagon site when she screamed and ran to the old man on the side of the wagon.  His motionless body showed that he had passed away in the middle of the actions with the bandits.  Now, at least, he seemed to be in peaceful slumber vice the pain that he had been in earlier.

     “I know this doesn’t help, but I am really sorry for your loss.” began Erik. “The only thing he thought about was you when I got here.  He made me promise to find you.  I will do what I can to help, what little I can.”  Erik looked around at the desolation that happened to their wagon.  He could fix the wagon but most of their belongings had already been taken away.

     Erik helped her wrap the body with some packaging sheets from the wagon and then lifted the body into the wagon.  Erik spent the rest of the day helping the young lady collect her belongings from the ambush and later in the evening, she left Erik on the side of the road with Clystine.  

    Erik sat down next to Clystine and pulled out a grooming kit.  The day was far gone and there would be much riding to do tomorrow in order to catch up for today’s venture.


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    Erik woke up early from a dreamless sleep and readied his pack and belongings.  The early morning was a little frigid and the dew was still on the ground.  A morning mist had just started to burn off from the ground.  The whole feeling was lonesome as no one was on the road.  Erik finished packing his belongings together and stamped dirt into the small campfire he had made the night before.

     He saddled up on Clystine and headed off in the directions of the mountains.  He would have to make it through the mountain pass by the end of the day to be able to make it to Trié by tomorrow afternoon.

     The day went by pretty quickly, Erik managed to only stop a couple times to let Clystine rest and eat by the road while he ate from the trail food he had brought with him.  He should be able to make it to the other end of the pass by late dusk.  From there Trié was only half a day’s ride.  Erik smiled at the quick pace he had been able to keep.

     "Mercy! Someone please have mercy on me!"  The cry came from the cracks in the rocks on the side of the road.  Dismounting, Erik found a woman had fallen in the rocks.  She was injured and unable to pull herself out of the cracks.  This would pull him even further behind his schedule but he wasn’t allowed to ignore a cry for help.

     "One moment, I will be right down!" shouted Erik.  When he finally made it to the bottom of the crack, after slipping and falling mostly down himself, he found that she had injured her leg and arms and didn't have enough strength to return to the surface.  From the looks of her injuries if it were possible to land any worse from the fall, she would have already done so.

    “Are you okay?” asked Erik.

     “Oh just peachy,” said the woman with a light tint of sarcasm in her voice.  “You don’t by chance know how to get me out of this mess do you?”  Other than what looked like a set of deep gashes that needed to be cleaned out and resealed, the rest of her injuries were mostly superficial and easily treatable, but he would have to use supplies from his packs

     "Well, the first thing we need to do is put some clean bandages on these cuts of yours.  I need to go back up to the top to get the material to bandage your wounds.  After that, I can help you climb up to the trail." said Erik.

    "Don't worry about me, honey. I don't have any place to go." said the woman sarcastically.  When he returned with some supplies, they took a few minutes to introduce one another.  She was a barkeep from Trié and was heading to her uncle's house in Merri Weather's Port when she slipped on the rocks and fell into the cracks.  Exhausted, she had just about given up hope of rescue when she had heard Clystine’s hoof beats.

     Erik set to work on fixing bandages on her injuries When Erik introduced himself as a paladin trainee, she asked why he couldn’t just put his hands on her and heal her and they could be about their merry business.

    "I wished it worked that way." answered Erik. "You need to be chosen by a God first, and then you get to invoke the abilities he or she gives you. As for me, I am still in the middle of trying to earn my god's favor."

    "So I am being assisted by a cute apprentice then?  Well, that’s better than an old grizzly guy who does this for a living, I expect.  I am sure that you will earn your god’s favor." said the woman trying to get to her feet.  "Now if you will just help me to the top, then I can be on my way and you can finish your mission."

    “Easily done.” replied Erik.  He turned and looked at the cliff they were going to have to climb.  “Well, kinda.”

     The two of them slowly made their way back up the trail.  Erik took great care to make sure that her cuts didn’t reopen along the way.   He helped her to the top of the road where they could sit down and figure out the next step of the plan.

    “From the looks of this gash, you are going to need a healer soon to finish putting these gashes back together.”  said Erik.  He busied himself with tightening the knots that held the bandages together.

    “Then I am going to need an escort to town.” proposed the lady “Are you, my handsome champion, up to the challenge?”

    "Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t think twice about escorting you to town.  I just can't go back though.  I am already halfway through a three-day mission." replied Erik.  "If I go back I will fail and many people will die because of my failure.  You are; however, welcome to join me on my way to Trié.  We can get through the pass by night fall, I think. And then we can find you a professional healer very quickly."

    "Then we are at an impasse." said the young woman.  "I am not going to be able to make it there in my condition.  I need your help to make it to town.  Stay with me just one day.”  She admired Clystine a little bit before continuing.  “After that time, when I don’t show up at my uncle’s house, he will send someone to find me.  I will be safe then.  You never know, it could be fun."

    "To wait even that long will cause me to fail my mission.  I will make a deal with you. I can give you my tent, and some of my food.  It's not much but it should be enough for you while I deliver my missive.  I can be back in three days. If there is another traveler, I will send them to bring you to your uncle."

    "If that is what you believe.  Like I said earlier, it doesn't seem as though I will be going anywhere soon."  said the young woman.  “I love your horse though; maybe when you get back then we can talk more as we head back.”

    "I promise, upon my honor, to return at the earliest opportunity."  Erik started off towards Trié.  He didn't feel right by his decision to leave her there, but if he didn't deliver this message, then many more people would die when the enemies of his Order overtake the area.

    He was certain that he would never forget the pleading look she gave him as he turned around to finish his mission.  The dark curls of her hair fell to her shoulders and she looked absolutely disappointed that her champion would not be here to stay with her.

    As Erik rode into the distance, Illandra shifted back to her normal form. She shook her head as she muttered to herself. "Such a shame to see one fail the Test of Honor.  He had such potential too.  And, he is so… cute."  A moment later she disappeared into the thin air she came from.  


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    There was Trié in front of him. Its city walls were a formidable structure. Several gate houses dotted its earth and stone reinforced walls to allow traffic and trade to enter and exit the city.  If it was required, the entire city could be closed down in a matter of hours.  It was still a half-day ride away to get to the city gates.  There would be barely enough time to get to the temple to deliver his message.  The incident with the young woman had chewed up too much time on the road.  Also, during the last leg of the journey, Clystine had a lot of trouble finishing the climb through the mountain pass toward Trié.

     Getting through the gates was simple, but what lay beyond the gates always took Erik's breath away.  The city was huge. The cobblestone streets were lined with houses, merchants, stores and more.  People traveled the streets as peddlers, tourists, and other people disguised themselves as peddlers and tourists in order to ply their tradecraft.  

    Hurrying to the temple, Erik was nearly pushed to the ground several times trying to make his way through the crowd.  Finally, he was able to ascend the temple steps.  Arriving at the front doors of the temple, he asked for the Patron.  When the Patron arrived, Erik presented himself, his mission and the letter from the Paladin Commander.  The Patron scornfully commented under his breath on Erik's presumptuousness in entering the temple without his ceremonial armor.

     Having delivered his missive, he waited for further orders.  The Patron looked at the message, then rolled the scroll up and gave a few orders to his men to get their armor and weapons ready for battle.  Before letting the Patron retire back to the temple, Erik stopped him with his question.      

    "Sire, what are my orders?  Where do I report?"

    "You don’t.  Go home, meet a woman, and raise many children.  A paladin you will not be." came the unexpected reply.  The reply came from behind him.  Erik turned to face the Paladin Commander.  Afraid of what to do Erik almost fainted on the spot.

    At first, Erik couldn’t believe his ears.  A moment or two passed before he could speak.  He had done everything correctly, how could he have failed this mission?  The message was delivered on time.  Even with the problems along the way.  

    "Si… Sire, I beseech you. What have I done wrong?" stammered a stunned Erik.  

    "What were the values taught to you during your training?" asked the Patron. "Mission before self?  Mercy before Mission? And yet, you left a young woman, injured mind you, in the wilds between towns. Where she would be at the mercy of whatever animals and brigands of the area would do to her.  Even after meeting the brigands themselves.  Did you take the time to find out if she had the ability to defend herself against the animals of the area?"

     Erik could feel the blood rush to his face.  His body started to shiver with rising stress, and his natural strength left him.  He wanted to run from the temple but knew that he could not.  He had been caught and there was no turning back.  It was better that he owned up to his mistake now and left the Order with his honor intact.

    "No sire, I did not." replied Erik. His face showed obvious distraught feelings toward the young woman he left behind. “But, I helped the child and rescued a different young woman from those bandits.”

     “And you let her grieve alone as she traveled back to town.” growled the Commander.  “And what of her safety after the fact?  Where would she stay?  Did she have family or somebody to take care of her when she arrived in town?  You would have been forgiven for the failure to arrive on time, because extenuating circumstances existed. But to put another innocent person's life in jeopardy because of mission and your own personal gain is unforgivable. You were given three chances to act with honor commensurate of the Paladin code.  You are dismissed.  Return your armor, your horse, and your sword.  Your commission is revoked."

     Erik’s heart dropped to the pit of his stomach.  Ashamed of his actions, and knowing there was nothing he could do about it; Erik removed his armor and tunic and placed them at the feet of the Patron. Now shirtless and kneeling, he looked up to the Patron.  "Lord, is there no other way to prove my worthiness?  I know I am capable, but …"

     "Your character has been judged in a trial by fire.  The steel of your character is unworthy.  There will be no more tests.  Remove yourself from this sacred place before I do." The doors to the patron’s office slammed closed in front of him.  The last few years of Erik’s life slammed to a close with the sound of metal latches locking the reinforced doors between them.

     Rejected, Erik slowly walked down and sat on the lowest steps of the temple.  Here he let the tears of anguish flow down his cheeks from the events that transpired.  Not only had he lost his chance to serve his god, he lost his armor and weapons, and finally Clystine was taken from him as well.  Penniless and distraught he let his soul drop to the depths of depression.  How could he have been so stupid?  Then again, how could he have known that this was going to happen?

    "Sorrow is good.” came a female voice from beside him.  “It is the forge of the soul."  Startled, he turned around to find the woman he had left behind.  Noticing his surprised look, she took a seat next to him on the stone steps and looked him over.

    “I guess you found out about the test.  It’s a shame they took the horse, I kinda liked Clystine.  And, I was looking forward to speaking with you again.  You’d think they would have left you some clothes at least."  She handed him her cloak to keep him warm.

    "Let,.. let me apologize.” stuttered Erik.  “I didn’t know it was part of the test.  I just wanted to do the best I could with the mission given me." His mind had not yet caught up yet with this new turn of events. Who was this woman and how did she get here so quickly?  Her injuries were also gone.  In fact, there were no scars either to show that there were any injuries.

    "There is nothing to apologize about." the woman replied. "And I believe you are being honest.  But there is one thing that you have to remember.  This time we know as life is one continual round of tests.  In this case, you placed the needs of the many over the needs of the one.  Is there any problem in that when that one is you?

    Erik looked confused for a second and shook his head to show that he didn’t see any problems as of yet.

    “Think about it for a second.  Suppose that they would have commissioned you as a knight errant and then you received word that I had died out there prior to you returning.  What would have been the consequence?"

     "For the last few years, I was taught to cherish the life of others above my own.  I wouldn't have been able to live with myself. I would have had to renounce my commission." replied Erik.

     "Aren't you glad then that they didn't make you a paladin?" She continued to query him.

    "I have always looked forward to being a paladin.  My father was a master knight. My mother spoke of nothing but I should become one too.  Even after he died in the battles; she wanted me to fight to defend the family honor and then to earn my own.  But to be one now, at what cost?  To have the people that trust in me and need me the most die, due to nothing more than my own neglect of proper responsibility?"

    "Then repent of your actions and carry on.  There are always more than one way to fight a war." enticed Illandra.  "I do believe that there are more people to carry the fight to and more people to serve in righteousness.  In fact, I know I can name a few off of the tip of my tongue."

     "I don't know if you know this, but I was just kicked out of the Order by my own God's servants." retorted Erik.

    Illandra leaned over and whispered into Erik's ear.  Her dark hair lightly fell into his face.  "Who said your god was a he?  And I seem to remember that there is more than one.  Not all of the others are fighting against your God.  Maybe, you should think about helping your God by fighting on a team that needs you to help them help him.  I like you, your heart is in the right place, but you haven't grown up fully yet.   I need you to help me fight this war on my team."

    Illandra leaned forward more to the point where Erik had to lean backwards to keep from being bumped into.  As she leaned forward, Illandra put a bag of coins in his hand.  "If your goal is to fight evil then listen to me carefully, go get a boat, some clothes… please, and supplies. Sail east from Merri Weather Port.  Do it by yourself, and tell no one of your actions.  Act with faith and you will not fail.  Will you accept this mission from me?"

    "As so long as I can fight on the side of Good, then my weapon and arms will be ready."

    Illandra looked into the young champion's eyes.  The extinguished flames that once roared from behind his eyes now slowly embered back to life.  It would take time to rekindle the fire and its tenaciousness but who knows given time how strong he could be. “One last thing, remember, this whole life is one continual test.  Fail one, and you fail them all.”

    "Then go and make ready."  Illandra waved her hand to whisk Erik away to his business.  Erik hurried down the street to find a Boatwright that would be able to provide him with his transportation.  Illandra watched on as her chosen one went about his duties.  Hopefully he will at least find some decent clothes while he is at it.

    As Illandra watched Erik walk away, Damien walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist from behind, eliciting a stifled giggle from her.  Falling back into his arms, she let him support her playfully.  A few seconds later she looked up into his eyes.

    "What do you think of him?" asked Damien.  His eyes still locked on the departing warrior.

    "He's cute, if I was a couple centuries younger you'd have trouble beating me off of him." came the quick reply.

     "I meant as a potential leader." Damien's query came off a little annoyed.

     "Oh, he'll do.  A little naive, for the time being at least.  But, he will do well as a leader." mused Illandra. Erik really did have a lot of potential.  Why choose someone who would be in direct conflict with the goal?

    "Good, very good, we will need him to be that way."  Damien put his arms around Illandra waist a little higher.  Welcoming the attention she leaned back into his arms, lifting one arm to stroke his cheek.

    "You know, love, you need an arcane.  Not to mention another warrior."

    "I have just the two picked out.  I think you will like the arcane."  The shadows from the alleyway enveloped and coalesced around the couple; obscuring them from view until finally the couple disappeared.



© 2016 Richard Linsley III


Author's Note

Richard Linsley III
Open for critique. style, format, dialogue, viewpoints, all are open for blasting. Some edits already from comments posted. Please keep them coming.

My Review

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How does Eric know that the bandits are drawing lots for the kidnapped girl? Perhaps there could be some overheard dialogue.

I kept feeling like Eric was being irresponsible. That he was ignoring the big picture. He goes after the bandits, thinking he will save her or die - but he needs to deliver a message within three days or ominous vague badness.
How can Eric justify risking his life before delivering the message? He doesn't even make a back up plan like leaving the message with the old man.
I understood that he helped the boy with the missing cat because he had time and the risk of injury was null. But going after the bandits makes me think of him as brave and caring, but irresponsible and unintelligent.
I love that the bandit leader was all "what's that word again? honor or something?"
Why is Eric reluctant to take the bandit leader's offer of one on one combat. The worst that happens is he walks away and can't save her. There is no benefit I can see to refusing the challenge.
The gap between the first "Borus" and "What's a Boroos?" is a little too wide to make the connection between the homophones.

I'll continue the review in a bit.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Okay. I started using diigo through Alpha Readers.

https://diigo.com/020j7c
I'm about to have to leave the internet area, so this is what I have so far.
When I finish the last section, I'll let you know - but all the annotations are under the same link.

Posted 10 Years Ago


C. Rose

10 Years Ago

I checked. It works. At first I had a mini heart attack and thought it had been deleted, but my anno.. read more
C. Rose

10 Years Ago

Okay. I finished annotating. The link is still the same.
Richard Linsley III

10 Years Ago

I just finished copying them into google drive. lots of great information there. thank you in advan.. read more
I was reminded of the bandit scene in Ever After, have you seen? Don't worry, your scene is original, it just has the same feeling to me. You should check it out if you haven't seen it already.
There is a big gap without mentioning Clystine during the bandit fight. I recommend reminding the reader that Clystine is his horse after the girl he saved leaves.

Your chapter is quite long. At least for while it is on writer's cafe, consider breaking the chapter into segments so that reviewers don't need to commit a large chunk of time, and can instead read a scene at a time. For example you could break after the leaves the boy/kitten scenario and after the leaves the rescued girl.

For my own reference so I can ctrl F the place I left off at: I got as far as "dreamless sleep".

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Richard Linsley III

10 Years Ago

Rose, thank you for your inputs. Thus far they have been insightful and definately what I have need.. read more
C. Rose

10 Years Ago

1) not to big an issue. I just realized a trick for myself of leaving "dreamless sleep" in your revi.. read more
How does Eric know that the bandits are drawing lots for the kidnapped girl? Perhaps there could be some overheard dialogue.

I kept feeling like Eric was being irresponsible. That he was ignoring the big picture. He goes after the bandits, thinking he will save her or die - but he needs to deliver a message within three days or ominous vague badness.
How can Eric justify risking his life before delivering the message? He doesn't even make a back up plan like leaving the message with the old man.
I understood that he helped the boy with the missing cat because he had time and the risk of injury was null. But going after the bandits makes me think of him as brave and caring, but irresponsible and unintelligent.
I love that the bandit leader was all "what's that word again? honor or something?"
Why is Eric reluctant to take the bandit leader's offer of one on one combat. The worst that happens is he walks away and can't save her. There is no benefit I can see to refusing the challenge.
The gap between the first "Borus" and "What's a Boroos?" is a little too wide to make the connection between the homophones.

I'll continue the review in a bit.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was definitely fun to read so far. My attention's all over the place from external causes, but will definitely say more when properly focused! For now, I can tell you that the beginning was a bit heavy on the dialogue. A little more description there would improve the story. Perhaps describe the reactions of the others? Also, there's one place, "Anger welled up inside of Erik’s heart to see such a sight. " that is highlighted for no apparent reason.

(Is this based off DnD by any chance?)

Posted 10 Years Ago


Richard Linsley III

10 Years Ago

Thank you much, I look forward to hearing more fully from you on how I can make this story better. .. read more
Richard, this has a lot of potential. I like the story and you are doing a lot of fun things with the story. I like the mythos you're going for so far.
I do have a few things you mignt want to look into:
- I would love to hear more setting description. The beginning especially would be nice to hell orient the reader. A lot this is suffering from the "white room" setting.
- When Erik encounters the first guy, you may want to mention how he is concerned about reaching his destination on time. It'll help add to the internal struggle.
- the paragraph where Erik steps into the clear to rescue the girl seems to have events out of order. The fighting off men occuring after he's tied.
- Illandra commenting on his failure was good for character, but I think it let's the cat out of the bag a bit too soon. I began to suspect (due to the pattern, pace and setup of the story) that these encounters were tests. I believe the commentary dampened the impact the speech he's given when he finally arrives as well as the reappearance of Illandra.
- damien seemed to come from nowhere with not a hint of explination about who he is? Maybe I missed something.
- the story feels inconsistant with viewpoint. Are you going for 3rd person unlimited?
I'm curious to see where this goes. I'm hoping Erik can redeem himself.
Good work!

Posted 10 Years Ago


Richard Linsley III

10 Years Ago

To be honest, I'm horrible with viewpoint. But I am going for 3rd person definately. In the full s.. read more
jjwilbourne

10 Years Ago

There is a viewpoint "sin" many call head-hopping. Basically, if you are telling the story from one .. read more
jjwilbourne

10 Years Ago

Here's a good flow chart that can help you figure out POV.
http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/7.. read more
This is quite well written and moved along well. I found some of the more "modern" speech a bit out of place with the time and setting, for example "He's cute, you can bounce a coin off that tight butt of his."

A few small typos, when Erik goes to fight the big man at the robbers' camp, the chief wants to see how Erik fares against Borus, not fairs. Punctuation needs a little cleaning but not a lot.

Posted 10 Years Ago


NoelHC

10 Years Ago

Some places I noticed, the cat looks, no apostrophe.
mused the bandit, raising (needed the com.. read more
Richard Linsley III

10 Years Ago

seems fair, I'm going to keep editing to see if I can clean it up. If you notice I don't find what y.. read more
NoelHC

10 Years Ago

I see there is another section up, I will look at it, but not tonight. I have been editing a friend'.. read more

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Added on May 13, 2014
Last Updated on March 23, 2016


Author

Richard Linsley III
Richard Linsley III

San Antonio, TX



About
A humble sailor with a story to tell. I'm a 39 year old dad of 3, and husband to the love of my life. Retired from the Navy after 20 years of hard work. Looking forward to some rest, and enjoying m.. more..

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