Infinity Gate-Chapter Three

Infinity Gate-Chapter Three

A Chapter by Kessira26
"

In a far, far future possibly our own humanity is pushed to desperation by the death of their planet and the Arren family offers them a hope. New life..

"

Chapter Three

Arden and Grae reached the Great Northern Road in the late afternoon, and pushed on towards Lost Goat pass. Arden wanted to camp right below the pass, so that they could cross over in early morning when the snow would be more stable.

That night around the campfire they talked as normal again, the tensions of earlier in the day forgotten. They talked of what crops Arden would sow in the lower fields this year, and gossiped about the neighbor's lonely cow who liked to escape her poorly maintained field and wander off seeking company.

They slept early, and woke in the bitter hours of pre-morning.

Grae stomped on his feet in his boots a bit, trying to get feeling in his feet, and warmed his hands on Freya's soft shoulder as she ate her breakfast. The mare flicked an ear at the boy, but didn't object. He leaned in and pressed his nose against her side, the smell of a clean horse filled Grae's nose, and he smiled a bit before setting back to work. He finished grooming her quickly, and saddled her, taking extra care that her saddle pad wouldn't bunch or shift today. They would be traveling up some very steep terrain, and he didn't want to risk her getting a rub.

Her ears twitched at him as he checked her legs and feet. She had solid legs, and good hard feet, but it was still possible for her to get an injury. He felt through her thick feathers to check for heat or swelling, but her legs felt good. Turning away, he left her to finish her breakfast, and started in on Arden's horse. Christof knew him well, and turned to whuffle him as Grae began his grooming. He gave the good-natured bay a pat on the shoulder and then groomed him well, and saddled him with the same care as Freya.

Grae checked Christof's legs much more carefully than Freya's. Christof had much finer leg bone, and two old injuries that liked to act up, but Christof's legs felt good, no sign of swelling or injury. Grae finished picking his hooves, then tucked away his hoof pick and rejoined Arden at the fire. Breakfast was finished, and Arden handed him a hot bowl of porridge and an even hotter cup of tea. They'd worked out camping chores long ago, and always fell into the same routine when they were together. Grae was terrible at cooking, so he always took care of the horses, and gathered the firewood and water. Arden was not only good at cooking, but also at figuring out how to lay out camp so as to be the most comfortable, so he always got camp set up and cooking chores.

They both ate as quickly as hot food would allow, and soon they were headed up the trail to the pass. Lost Goat was thoroughly snowed in when they reached it, no signs of travelers passing that way since the last big snow at least, if not even before that. The both dismounted and took turns leading, and breaking the path. Neither of them spoke, well aware of the danger that loomed above them on the mountain slopes. Arden was in the lead when they crested the pass, and Grae turned to take a last look back at that Valley he was leaving, but they'd already traveled too far over the crest, and he could see nothing of the Valley, only dark storm clouds in the distance.

Once they were over the pass the journey was easy, and after another night of camping, they passed into the farmlands around the town of Cross Roads. They could see farmers in the distance, as they passed along the road, and many of them raised a hand in greeting. One who was working in a field close to the road stopped them to ask about the condition of the pass, and then shook his head at their foolishness at crossing over before the caravans had cleared it.

It was nearing midday when they reached Cross Roads. It was Grae's first time out of the Valley, and he looked all about him with wide eyes. There was a big crowd in the town square and they had to skirt through. There was much laughing and noise, as people watched an elaborate puppet show set up high where everyone could see it. Grae turned also to watch the puppet show in rapt fascination. It was some dramatic play about a man in a skirt. He watched until Freya almost ran over an angry craftsman, and he was forced to pull his attention back to what was in front of him. The man glowered at Grae, and Grae started to stammer an apology, but the man waved him off and continued a discussion with his companion.

"All the people killed you said, none left alive?" he asked.

Grae slowed Freya a bit to eavesdrop on them, aided by the fact they were moving in the same direction as he and Arden.

"Killed down to every man woman and child is the rumor."

"and the valuables?"

"Left to rot or burn, nothing was taken"

"Was it Lord Arren then?"

Grae couldn't hear the response, as the men moved through a doorway, and out of hearing. He hurried to catch up to Arden, who'd reached the edge of the town square. He told Arden what he had overheard, and they both wondered where the calamity might have happened.

It was two more days easy journey from Crossroads to Sine Harbor. That night they stayed in an Inn. They were the only customers for the evening, this early in the season and the Innkeeper was glad of their custom.

The next day they ran into more and more traffic on the road, as they approached the big port city. Outside the city walls, traffic was backed up, as people waited to be inspected. Grae could just barely hear the people talking two ahead of them in line. Something about the massacre he'd overheard of in Cross Roads. Several times, he swore it sounded like they said it happened in the Valley, and Grae started to feel very anxious.

"There's no way they could mean our Valley, right Arden?" he asked his friend. Arden shushed him, his head cocked slightly to try and hear better, but then the men reached the inspection point, and ceased their discussion. Arden and Grae waited impatiently for their turn in line, and finally they were waved forward.

"State your business," asked the rather bored looking guard.

"I'm here escorting this young man to visit his uncle in the city," Arden told the guard.

"State your names," the second guard demanded, and both Guards looked suddenly more alert.

"Arden Hevenson," Arden replied waving at Grae to respond.

"Graeven Halath," Grae said in a shy voice.

"And your uncle is?" the second guard prompted. "Asher Fall," Grae said.

"Wait here please," The guard said, and rushed off towards a smaller side gate. He returned in a few moments with a harried looking man in a robe.

The man peered up at them, and did a double take at Grae's face.

"You are Graeven Halath?" He asked, and Grae nodded feeling very shy.

"Come, come, quickly this way. Your Uncle sent me to watch for you," The man told them, scurrying quickly towards the gate.

The two were waved through the gate without inspection, following behind the man, and they entered the city. The next few minutes were totally overwhelming for Grae, as the man guided them through the rings of the city, up one street, and through a wall, then down along another. He took them a twisting winding way that avoided most of the crowding, but still the noise of the city seemed deafening to Grae's ears. Even Arden was looking very wide eyed by the time they passed into a dark narrow alley that ended at a stable.

"This stable is run by your uncle, and is used by the men in his caravans. Your horses will be safe here," The man told them, waving at them to get off.

"A stable this far into the city?" Arden asked incredulously.

"What do you mean?" The man questioned, "We're right near the East gate and the city wall." Arden blinked a bit, then whispered to Grae as they dismounted "I'm totally turned around".

They reluctantly handed their horses over to the stable boys that came to take them. Arden started to reach for his packs, but the man waved them away.

"Your things will be brought, do not worry. Come, Come, Master Fall awaits".

They were herded along by the man, out the other side of the Stable yard, and into a busy street, then down the street across the way, and up the side stairs of a building. The lower half of the building was a shop that sold wax goods and candles, and a sweet scent wafted out to them as they climbed the stairs, and knocked on a discreet door.

A stiff-faced man in dark clothing opened the door for them, and ushered Arden and Grae down a hall and into a well appointed room, with comfortable chairs and large table.

"I'll bring tea," the man said, then left the room closing the door behind him, and leaving the two alone.

Arden and Grae looked at each other feeling very out of their depth.

"Where do you think your Uncle..." Arden trailed off as the door opened behind them, and Asher Fall rushed in. "Saybel," he said expectantly his eyes looking around the room.

"Uncle Ash?" Grae said tentatively.

"Saybel...where's my Sister?" Ash demanded of Grae. Grae looked confused and a little frightened by his tone.

"Your Mother boy, where is she?" Ash asked, his tone harsh. "She must have escaped with you, where is she?"

"Mother is not," the boy began,"Mother did not come with us".

"But she must have escaped," Ash said his eyes wild. "She must be here with you. Tell me where she is!"

Grae was frightened and backed away from his uncle to stand nearer to Arden.

"You are scaring your nephew," Arden said in a harsh voice, reaching his hand to sooth Grae's shoulder.

"Who are you?" Ash turned his attention to Arden with a scowl, "And why did my sister not escape with you?" he demanded.

"Escape what?" Arden asked his eyes fixed on Ash's.

For one long moment their gazes met, Ash's silvery grey eyes filled with desperation. Then suddenly, his frame hunched, and his hand raised to his heart. Long black hair touched with silver at the sides slid forward to hide his face. Then he straightened, and his expression was wiped completely clean. Cold stone features regarded them. "The Valley was destroyed," He told them bluntly, "Everyone that lived there, every man woman and child was killed".

"That is impossible!" Arden answered. "We just left there, that is impossible!"

"Word reached the city by messenger bird two days ago," Ash told them.

"But how?" Arden demanded, "We came through the pass, none had been through it. There are no other ways in or out of that Valley".

'No ways for a normal army, no ways for normal men to reach it, no. But there is one that could destroy it without traveling through the pass," Ash said, "What did the Valley do to earn the Wrath of Lord Arren?"


© 2013 Kessira26


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Added on August 14, 2013
Last Updated on August 14, 2013
Tags: Infinity Gate, Lord Arren, Torch





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