Chapter 25: It's my Responsibility

Chapter 25: It's my Responsibility

A Chapter by Sairek Ceareste





Sairek felt himself slowly stir awake out of his sleep. Although it took a little while, he eventually managed to crack his eyes open.

He rose his head from Nayleen's shoulder with a loud gasp as if he had just awoken from a nightmare. He felt their movements stop as Nayleen and Cyial glanced at Sairek and then Nayleen glanced at Cyial, raising a curious eyebrow. Sairek panted a little, catching his breath.


"What happened?" He heard Nayleen ask him. Sairek slowly shook his head slowly.

"N-Nothing... sorry. It was... just a bad dream." Sairek lied. Truth was that he couldn't remember. Maybe he did have a bad dream and just couldn't recall it? Well, it didn't really matter. Sairek sucked in a breath. "Could you let me down, please?"

"Are you sure?" Nayleen asked him. "You fell asleep rather quickly and you was in a deep sleep. You're not tired?"

"I just needed a little bit of time to rest. My body still feels like it's get tired easily, maybe because of what I went through last night. But I'll be fine for long enough until we get to rest in town." He reasoned.

"If you say so."

Kneeling down, Nayleen felt Sairek gently push away from her. He stumbled a bit, trying to catch himself when he stood on two feet but forgetting that Cyial had his staff. Luckily, the Acolyte caught him anyways. Sairek gave a small smile in thanks as Cyial handed him back his staff. Sairek took it and used the staff to steady himself. Testing, he stood in his formal stance once balance was regained just to see if he was indeed ready to approach the gates.

"Well, I feel like I've been doing some sort of heavy drinking..." Sairek muttered dully. "...but other than that, I believe I'm good to go."

The three of them hiked up the hill towards the town gates, where Sairek's eyebrows raised a bit in curiosity. Mostly gates had at least two soldiers standing outside each end of the gates. As far as Sairek could see, there was none in the gates at all. The sun was setting into late evening and while some smaller towns did close the gates for the night, it wasn't late enough for such a thing. The three children eventually reached the gate, with Sairek in the lead, Cyial behind him on his left, Nayleen behind him to his right. Sairek tapped the Yggdrasil staff hard on the door a few times to knock on the door. There, he resumed into his formal stance waiting patiently for some type of response. There was none. A frown formed on Sairek's face and uncertainty lit in his emerald eyes.

"What do we do now?" He heard Cyial ask quietly.

"I'll wait a few more minutes by knocking a couple more times. If I still don't get a response, I will break the gate down. I am not going to risk any of us camping outside in the night while we're all like this and we still need to give you proper first-aid." Sairek muttered.

Once again, the Prince knocked on the door, adding more force to it this time. He once again waited a few more minutes. He lifted his staff to knock a third time, when suddenly he heard noise from the other side. He positioned his staff at the side when the door opened. An elderly female peasant, short, with shoulder length white hair stood at the door, along with an elderly taller male that was bald. Both looked like they were poor of poverty. Once again, Sairek raised his eyebrows in curiosity.

“Well, I’ll be,” the elderly woman said. “I never expected visitors to only be children.”

”…You do not know who I am?” Sairek asked in a polite tone. The woman combed her hair with her hands, soon pulling on a knot. She licked her dry lips as she spoke again.

”Can’t know who ya are without yer name, hun.” She said.

”I’m Sairek. Sairek Ceareste. Prince of the kingdom.” He announced casually as if he just stated his name and nothing more.

”Prince?” The woman let out, looking towards the male at her side.

”Well, he does sorta fit the description we had, doesn’t he?” The man asked. "Kinda looks formal, ain't he?"

”I woulda thought he was a man though. He doesn’t look any older then Arisa’s son. Maybe even younger since he looks so short.” The woman noted out back to the man.

Sairek showed the tiniest signs of a dull look, trying to resist the urge to look annoyed. It didn’t help that he heard Nayleen stifling a laugh behind him.

”Ya have any proof that you be that Prince?” The man soon asked Sairek. The child blinked a bit in response.

”Proof?" The child repeated in a bit of surprise. "Well, I... uh… ...not many Prince's need proof to show who they are to their people... well,
I could cast a magic spell in order to prove I am Prince. Not many children can cast spells in the kingdom, after all. Will that provide enough evidence for you?”

”That be fine by me.” The woman said.

”Good.” Sairek said with a small grin, as he turned to both Nayleen and Cyial. “Stand back now please you two.”

Both stepped back a few paces obediently. Sairek stepped to the side some distance. He pretended to be concentrating magic on his staff, but really, he was using magic in the jewel. He felt too tired to actually try casting a spell with his own energy. The jewel glowed slightly white with its glow, but Sairek held his arm out with the staff that he was covering the jewel up the man and woman’s view. Soon, water began sprouting out of the staff in a very light spray, like a water fountain sprinkling.

Both the old woman and man gasped at the feat, easily astonished. Sairek thought it was simple magic. Most children learned such an easy trick only a few years after Sairek would. Yet these two instead of being simply astonished, they rushed up to the water, and began splashing it upon themselves and drinking it like they had not had water for days. Sairek frowned at this. Eventually what seemed minutes later, the other two seemed to have their share as the sprinkling of the water died down.

”Well, I’ll be.” The woman said. "That's impressive, but it doesn't really show me that you're a Prince, does it?"

 

Sairek nearly fell over.

 

"You just said--" He began.

 

"Anyone can cast magic, can't they? At any age as long as you learn the proper methods, right laddie?" She asked him.

 

"Well yes, I never said that nobody couldn't--"

 

"So it isn't evidence, boy."

 

Sairek frowned at this. But he shook his head. As annoyed as he was, he kept his composure. "Alright fine, look, whether I am the Prince or not doesn't matter. My reasons for coming here is the same either way; me and my friends are just passing by. But first I must ask why the gate is closed?"

 

The man answered him this time. "All the King's men have gone on strike, so the town is pretty defenseless against any bandits or monster invasions. So we're keeping the gates closed as a precaution."

 

Sairek's eyes showed a stern look. "...On strike?" He repeated. The man nodded his head.

 

The woman soon intervened. "Well, you three certainly don't seem like bad kids. Dandoran isn't much, but talking inside town would be better and safer than leaving this gate open. Come on in."

 

Nayleen and Cyial both nodded in thanks and stepped forward. Sairek stepped in last, as he heard the wooden gate creak from behind him and then enclosing him off. Sairek stepped out from the walls and his face gave a look of disapproval at the state the town was in.

 

The town looked like a whole bunch of tents, on the exception of some stone buildings in disrepeair, that had been set up only a month or so ago inside a giant, deep hole. There was no vegitation at all. Evidence that it had existed before was shown through either leafless trees, or dried up saplings in the town. And there were a lot of dried up saplings...

 

"What... happened here...?" Sairek could only utter out. The town look practically deserted. It was completely quiet. The five of them outside right now were the only ones that were outside in the entire town.

 

"We'll talk inside." The woman repeated as she had said before. "Come children, this way." She said, as she slowly walked towards one of the larger tents in the town. The adults allowed the children to slip inside first before coming in themselves.

 

It was kind of cramped inside the tent with three children and two adults. There was a simple round, short wooden table set up inside the large tent, two piles of dirty clothes and some dirty blankets for bedding. The three of them sat close together at the back of the tent. With Cyial in the middle, Sairek on his left, and Nayleen on his right. The tent wasn't even tall enough for any of them to stand upright, so Sairek couldn't lean his staff up. Instead, he had to lay it across his, Cyial's and Nayleen's lap together. The man and woman sat on the other end of the tent.

 

"A lot of questions in my head..." Sairek said after they were all settled. "But I suppose I'm most curious as to what happened here first."

 

"We don't really know." The woman admitted. "About a couple of months ago, the vegitation in Dandoran just began decaying. It was great one day, and then within a week everything had died and the area around here became a wasteland."

 

"Well... I did notice the grass was awfully rather dry and crispy when I was stepping on it... Of what grass I managed to see, anyways..." Nayleen noted more to herself.

 

"Many people don't want to leave." The woman continued. "Some people like myself have lived in Dandoran for most of our lives. Some of us grew up here. The other people who are not so attached fled. A lot of us are too poor to leave. Many of us can't even get food and to go get some is a weeks' travel to Lamen to buy food and then take another week back... by the time you arrive back home, all the food would be gone and eaten."

 

"Yeah... I can see that being a huge problem..." Sairek muttered. An isolated town like Dandoran that was near no other town had to be self efficient. Clearly, the town wasn't in a good state to be able to take care of one person, let alone a community of people. Sairek soon asked his second question that was really gripping at his curiosity. "Then what about the soldiers that you spoke of? What is this about going on strike?"

 

"The King a few weeks ago sent a support group here, mostly containing relief supplies, such as food and water." The man answered. "And that all went well and swell for a while. The people were happy for a while and it really lifted everyone's moods a lot."

 

"So then what happened that made everything go bad?" Nayleen asked. Sairek glanced at her as she spoke in his place.

 

"We don't know exactly... it's just heresay." The woman answered. "Something to do about the mines."

 

"Mines?" Nayleen questioned.

 

"Ya see," the man began "Dandoran is great for a mining town. We are surrounded by rocks and mountains. It's good for minerals iron and other goods. A lot of the stone we mine goes to Lamen and a lot of our money used to be made off of that."

 

"...Which explains why Lamen is practically made entirely out of stone..." Sairek added and the man nodded in confirmation.

 

The man nodded. "Except a town kind of has to stop building at some point. Lamen is so big, but it's kind of run out of space within the walls. The only way Lamen could possibly build outward now is towards the ocean."

 

"And that's exactly what they've been doing from what I heard. But construction in the water is rather slow..." Sairek noted again.

 

The man nodded yet again. "So Lamen has no need for Dandoran anymore. They got the stone they think they will need for probably a very long time. So that makes one of our best traders gone. That leaves even less money for the people who go out to buy food or to relocate."

 

"So... what does this have to do anything about the soldiers?" Sairek asked.

 

"A few days ago, the soldiers rallied up." The woman said. "T'was something about gold and diamonds being found inside the mines. Them soldiers took up every miner they could find and forced them all into the mines to search for it. I heard words that they weren't getting paid enough, or something like that from other people in the town."

 

Sairek's heart began to sink at the news he was hearing. This did not sound like his father's men. Every member in the Relief Force was good people from what he had seen. He didn't like many people in the castle, he was neutral with most. But the Relief Force was one of the few he gave a lot of respect to. They were rarely ever in the castle, making sure all the cities were alright. Every member in that group did their job to help people, not for the money. Even if it happened to had been for money, they had always been paid well. They were very important to keeping the entire kingdom in check, so problems like this didn't happen or go unchecked.

 

"Where are the mines?" Sairek asked after he finished his thoughts.

 

"They be at the back of the town. Very back. Huge hole in the mountain walls, can't really miss them laddie. But I wouldn't suggest going in them you know." The woman warned.

 

Sairek gave her a stern look. "Well, whether you believe me or not, I am the Prince and it is my responsibility as Prince and second in command, just below my father's authority, that I fix this dire situation or to do my best that I can to remedy it. Age doesn't change my responsibilities."

 

He kind of wish it did, though.

 

"That goes for me too!" Nayleen soon pitched in.

 

"And I, as well." Cyial soon responded confidently as he held his book to his chest.

 

Sairek smiled as his friends pitched in to help him. He turned his face back to the other two adults. "How long has this incident been going on for?"

 

The man sighed at Sairek, shaking his head, but still answered. "This would be the fifth day."

 

"I have one last question then." Sairek started. The two adults paid attention to him. "...Although I think I already know the answer to this seeing the state of the town..." The child muttered. "...but is there any one who knows how to do simple first aid?

 

"Not sure. Nobody at this point really wants to deal with outsiders. Whole town feels betrayed at this point." The man answered.

 

Sairek bit his bottom lip at the response. "...Even if I offered my own supplies for it?" He asked.

 

"Well, then you may have a deal." The man responded. "Maybe."

 

Sairek released his bottom lip, then nodded. He slowly pushed himself up off of his bottom and onto his knees and took ahold of his staff. "Alright then, let's go solve this issue then."

 

The adults made room for the children to leave and exit the tent before the pair exited themselves. The trio stood outside the tent turned towards the other two, with Sairek in front and in the middle.

 

"Thank you for letting us inside. I'll try to do my best to fix this problem." Sairek said as he bowed his head forward while in his formal stance.

 

"Are you sure you know what trouble you three are getting yourselves into, laddie?" The woman asked Sairek.

 

"You have no idea what trouble we had faced just a few hours ago to get here. It can't be any worse than that..." Sairek muttered.


The elderly woman couldn't help but smile at Sairek. "Aye, I probably don't. But you seem to be a bright young laddie at least. If you are Prince as who you say you are, then maybe those soldiers will go and listen to you."


The trio departed from the tent, as Sairek lead them through the abandoned town with his friends behind him. Sairek walked his way to the best looking building there was and knocked on the wooden door with his staff. The three waited at the door as Sairek stood in his formal stance as we waited for a response.


He got a response, but not the one he was hoping for. A young girl's voice sounded from the other side of the door, sounding maybe thirteen or fourteen years of age.


"Go away!"


Sairek frowned at the response. "Please... if you don't want me to come in, that's fine. But one of my friends is hurt... We just need someone who can do first-aid. We have everything we need. We're even willing to give food for it."


There was a moment of silence.


"I want six flasks of water then." The voice called back, and then added: "And then one extra to help clean the wound for your friend."

 

Sairek nearly stumbled. Six!? For the task of dressing a wound? Well, it wasn't really a problem, he could refill the flasks back up with 'Waert' if he really needed to, but it wasn't the water itself that made him annoyed, it was losing the actual flasks themselves.

 

"...Alright, six flasks of water."


"...Fine. Is your friend awake?"

 

"Yes he is." Sairek answered.

 

"Give him the water and have him stand outside the door with it with your medical supplies. I dress the wound, keep the water and he walks out."

 

"...Alright." Sairek said with a roll of his eyes. "He's only around seven or eight years old, he won't bite or anything..." He said in a slightly annoyed tone.


"Make sure she doesn't scam us..." Nayleen warned him in a hushed tone.


"If she does, then we can easily break in. I don't think she'd risk that." Sairek said back to her as he leaned his staff against the wall of the building and cupped his mother's jewel in his hands. The gem shined as all the supplies lay here and there in front of Sairek.


"Is there not a better way to do that?" Cyial questioned the other male. "It seems rather inconvenient to throw everything else at once."


"There is, but I have no idea how to tell what is what, yet." Sairek answered as he scoured through a couple bags, grabbing some that held flasks in them, along with some fresh bandages. He then handed them all to Cyial, who handed Sairek his book to hold as he cupped all the flasks with a couple bandages in his arms.

 

"We'll be right here. If she tries anything sneaky, just yell out. We'll break down the door if we have to. She'll probably be startled by your looks.

 

"...Okay." Cyial replied, almost feeling unsure with the whole thing.

 

"Okay, he's ready. Just please don't be shocked with how different he looks to normal people."

 

Sairek and Nayleen stood off to the side as Cyial stood in front of the door, which soon opened. A hushed voice ordered Cyial to walk inside, who did. Then Sairek and Nayleen heard the door shut quietly, with a small click signalling it was soon locked.

 

Sairek frowned at this, but he heard no fuss inside the house. After several minutes, the door opened again, and he saw Cyial walk on out, carrying seven flasks with him. Sairek blinked as the door closed again.

 

"What happened?" He asked, wondering if they had refused.

 

"They only wanted the water inside the flasks. Not the flasks themselves." He answered. "They just all drank them all dry." Sairek touched each flask individually as Cyial held them out with his jewel as they each vanished slowly each time he did it until he had them all, and handed Cyial back his book.

 

"Did they work on the wound?" Nayleen asked and the Incubus nodded in confirmation, tilting his head to the side revealing his neck to show the new bandage along where the wound was. "It had to be sewn together. After that, I was able to do a bit of work using Ethereal on my own to accelerate a bit of the skin healing, before applying the bandage.

 

"Geez, that must have hurt..." Sairek muttered, feeling his stomach churn a bit at the thought.

 

Cyial shrugged. "It needed to be done somehow."

 

"Well, I think we should all go and get a bit of rest now." Sairek suggested. "It's not really night time but I think we can use the extra hours of sleep. We're not really going to go anywhere else. I don't know to be honest on what to do with this 'on strike' situation I'm dealing with. It doesn't sound right, at all. I've never heard a support group ever doing such thing.

 

"Wouldn't the castle know?" Nayleen asked, and Sairek shrugged. "It'd take at least ten days on average for a normal soldier to get to Marid. The strike began apparently five days ago. We did take a huge shortcut as well. And even then, all the soldiers that would be relaying the news is on the strike, so... I don't know if the castle will even hear about this." He sighed, rubbing his forehead with his gloved fingers. "I think I'll just take a peek at the mines those two before talked about before I call it a day."


"You're not going to go inside, are you?" Nayleen asked, although give a rather suspicious tone.


"No, I won't." Sairek answered back to her. "I'm only taking a look at the entrance, that's it. I'm too tired of even thinking of going in there."


"Okay, Cyial and I will try to find a place where we can all rest." Nayleen told him with a nod, but then frowned. "But I'll be honest, it doesn't look like there's an Inn anymore, what with half of its roof missing over there..." She pointed. Sairek lanced in the direction of her finger as he saw a rather large stone building. It wasn't missing only half a roof, but also half of its left wall on the top floor. All the rooms had been emptied out too.

 

"We'll sleep inside of it anyways. We have bedrolls. It'll provide more cover then just sleeping outside in the open. With the people all practically locked inside their own houses anyways, I doubt not very many people know that we are here. I'd like to stay unknown to most of them until the night is over. No telling what some people may do in a desperate situation like this to get food..."

 

Nayleen nodded her agreement, as Sairek shifted his weight. "Alright, I'll be back in just a few minutes. Take a look around inside the inn.

 

"Alright, let's go Cyial." She said to the incubus who nodded. They both turned around and began to walk off towards the Inn. Sairek turned himself around and began walking to the other end of town. It was only a few minutes of walking to reach the other side and the entrance was anything but subtle. It was a fairly sized gaping hole in the side of a cliff.


The walls were supported with thick hardwood, probably to stop rubble and such and to lower the chances of it collapsing. To get to the mine entrance, one had to climb a set of wide cobblestone steps. He traversed up them, and stared inside the entrance which had minerail tracks leading inside. The light was too dim though and the railings quickly turned around to a corner. Sairek couldn't see much more than that.

 

He was curious on what was around that corner, but he told Nayleen he would not enter them and he would hold on to his own word that he indeed would not do so. With that, he climbed back down the steps into the inn.

 

Stepping through the opening of where the door would probably supposed to be. Sairek looked around the dark interior of the Inn and walked himself inside a small little room where he saw Nayleen and Cyial sitting. Sairek looked up as there was no roof at all, not even with the second floor.

 

"This place looks safe to sleep inside. Nothing can topple ontop of us here, and it looks the most stable of everywhere else." Nayleen said.

 

"It works for me. We can all sleep comfortably in this room. May be a bit of a tight fit but it will do." Sairek agreed as he sat down with a sigh of relief.

 

"It may still be a good idea to take watches in the town." Cyial suggested. "I think I should go first, and then Sairek and then Nayleen. Perhaps it may be a good idea to keep this order for all nights unless the situation warrants it differently..."

 

Nayleen's brow twitched. "Why'm I last?"

 

Cyial looked a little taken a back at the question. "Well um... if somebody was to try and attack us, I would think they would do it in the early morning. And with you being a huntress and all, you'd be skilled to pick up faint noises rather easily." He then glanced to the side as he added: "...And if we were to be attacked on the field, you'd benefit from stealing their loot en'masse."

 

Nayleen soon smirked. "I like the way you think~"

 

Sairek rolled his eyes at her. "Well, we only had breakfast today, and that was before the sun rose. I think it's time we finally had a meal before we sleep."

 

"Oh man, I totally forgot how hungry I was." Nayleen moaned.

 

"Your restraint on food is getting better. Congratulations." Sairek teased. Nayleen shot him a dull look.

 

 

 

 



© 2013 Sairek Ceareste


Author's Note

Sairek Ceareste
Chapter last updated on: February 7th, 2013

Changelog:

- Changed pretty much the entire chapter from before, due to plot changes. It does however start the same, but ends completely differently (rather than Sairek entering the mines against his word to Nayleen)

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Added on December 16, 2011
Last Updated on February 7, 2013
Tags: The, Ethereal, Elixer, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Romance, Mystery, The Ethereal Elixer