Redeye Flight

Redeye Flight

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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Eleazar and Aurei spend some quality time together

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28.

Redeye flight

 

 

 





An hour later, Aurei emerged on the parapet of the Ducal Keep carrying a backpack.   She stopped and glanced across the gang plank to the King’s airship; Eleazar had seemed so extremely nervous when he told her about the two rings of Friendship.   She’d never heard of such enchanted rings, but then again, she had not been out of Northmarch her entire life.   Still, he seemed so uncomfortable telling her about them.  

 

Eleazar’s head popped through the doorway leading below deck.   He gestured for her to come on board and she hurried to join him.

He pointed to her backpack, “What’s that for?”

“I don’t know - it just seems like something that you’re supposed to take when you’re on a quest.  I didn’t change out of the plate armor… you said it was probably the best thing to wear… right?”

He smiled at her question, “Duchess, of course it’s okay.”

She shrugged, “Well, I didn’t know what to wear for a quest - plate armor seems rather traditionally appropriate, doesn’t it?”

He laughed and led her into the large room of the Autumn Maid where they had met with the King and the crew of the ship the previous day.   Captain Tarron and his crew stood at the front by the wheel, ready to begin.  

 

“I think we’re ready, Captain.”   Eleazar addressed the man.

“We will be underway shortly, Lord Coldburn.”

Aurei grinned at the sound of Eleazar’s new title.

“Your Highness, do you have any idea if the Emperor’s airship has any gang planks that we can use?”

Aurei glanced around, but didn’t see the King anywhere.

Eleazar nudged her, “He was talking to you, Your Highness.”

“Highness?   I’m not a queen, Laz!”

“That is actually the correct title for an Archduchess; am I not correct, Captain Tarron?”

“You are correct, Lord Coldburn.  An Archduke or duchess is addressed ‘Your Highness’, the same title as a prince, though a member of the royal family is correctly addressed as ‘Your Royal Highness’.”

Aurei raised her eyebrows, “Wow, I didn’t know that; I’ve not been addressing the King and Queen correctly.   I’m not very knowledgable on courtly etiquette.   It sounds far too fancy for me - I’m just getting used to being called Duchess.   So if you please, Captain, don’t address me as ‘Your Highness’ or ‘Your Grace’, just as ‘Duchess’ or even better as Aurei.”

“I wouldn’t presume to be so familiar with you, Duchess.” 

“Captain, a year ago I was just a barmaid getting my butt pinched multiple times each night.   Nothing has changed but the presentation of several titles.   I’m the same person, and I am certainly not big on formalities.”

“I understand; I’ll compromise by addressing you as Duchess Aurei.”

Aurei smiled, “I’ll settle for that.”

“Excellent.   Now if you and Lord Coldburn will seat yourselves - the power that this craft generates when the magic is first activated creates quite a jolt of force; so it is best if everyone is seated until after we have taken off.”

Aurei and Eleazar took seats at the table behind the ‘bridge’ and Tarron called out a few commands to his crew.   Several rushed out of the cabin and began raising the mooring lines while a third went below, shouting to those on the lower decks to prepare for take-off.

 

A few moments later, without any warning, there came the sound of a whistling wind and with a sharp jerking motion, the ship took off.  

“Wow, here we go!”  Aurei commented to Eleazar.

“And quickly!”  He added, turning to the Captain, “How long will it take us, do you think?”

The Captain, who stood at the wheel, thought for a moment, “From what our scouts tell us, the Imperial Yacht remains moored by its mooring chains where it was before the Necromancer’s Guild attacked it.   That would place it under five miles southwest of King’s Reach.   It’s early afternoon and I imagine the storm that passed through here yesterday may still be between us and our destination, so it will certainly be after dark before we reach it.   Probably about 7 hours, so you’ll have time to relax.”

 

Aurei shifted uncomfortably at the mention of the time frame, “I hope Alis remembers to show Rori the ropes - tonight’s her first shift.”

“I’m sure they’ll take care of it, Aurei.   You have some very good people working for you.”

She snorted at the term, “I don’t think of them ‘working for me’, really, more like working with me.   I guess they are, but it seems so weird to be in charge of things.   You had best get used to it as well, now that you are an Earl.”

“I didn’t ask for the title, I have no idea what it means to be an Earl.”

“I have no idea, either.   But I think you are supposed to have some land and a castle or something.   Since I’m an Archduchess, I guess, I’m probably supposed to give you the land so you can build a castle.  So where do you want to live?”

Eleazar just looked at her with an amused expression.

“I’m not kidding!”  She responded to his look, “I’m supposed to give you some land.   We don’t want to make the King mad.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that, Aurei.  I don’t need any property.”

“What if you want to retire?”

The Half-Drow shrugged, “I haven’t really given that much thought.   Since I found out that my mother ate the Faesidhe fruit, I doubt there will be a time when I feel I need to retire.”

“I was thinking about that too; supposing that we avoid getting killed by misdeed, or in war, what do we do after everyone is gone?   All of our friends.  Alis, Brandi, Krys, Siris and Lute, Pectros, Thorm… we’ll see them all grow old and die.  It’s been so hard to just be a Drow and age slower than they do… I don’t know if I can stand to watch all my friends die.”   Aurei found herself suddenly battling unsuccessfully against tears.

Through the metal gauntlets of her new armor, she felt Eleazar grasp her hand.

“Aurei, think about the people who have already passed from this world, that you miss ; I am very sure all of them were followers of Yesh?”

“Yes” She said through her tears.

“That is the blessing given to followers of Yesh the Merciful - that all who have faith in him will dwell with him in paradise.   It is a heavenly community, Aurei, and in Yesh’s realm there is no death or parting.   You will see these people again, as you will all those who die in the future - as long as they are followers of Yesh.”

“I know… but it could be a long time.   I still miss mother and father Bugley.   And Brother Darv, I really miss him, Laz.”

“He was a faithful follower of Yesh; I know he walks with God right now.”

“I know… you’re right of course.   I think I’m most afraid of realizing one day that everyone I know is gone and that I’m all alone in a totally different world.”

“You won’t be alone, Aurei, for there will be new people that you will care about -that you don’t even know yet- who will ease the pain.  I don’t imagine you will ever be without friends.   Queen Eioldth and Matron Zeatt share our agelessness, and I will be there too.”

She looked up through her tears, “Really?”

He smiled gently, “Well of course; I have to be for the Rings of Friendship to work, remember?”

“I’m glad.” She squeezed his hand (or rather his gauntlet). 

“Can I ask you something?”

“Okay” the knight replied, growing uncomfortable holding her hand.

“Do you think the Necromancer’s Guild can be defeated?”

“Absolutely!   But I doubt it will be done in one grand battle or even in a series of battles.   To defeat them will require bravery and great patience, for they have their tentacles spread wide and they operate in the shadows.   But they can be defeated, I believe.”

“Do you believe that the King’s airship idea will work to defend against further attacks?”

“I’m optimistic, but I think a strong army is equally important.”

“I should tell you something; my position as Archduchess is a lark.   King Haroldris gave me this title as a ploy to keep the Necromancer’s Guild away from Westmark and to make them think that Haroldris had lost his mind.   Armies led by a Drow girl would not worry them so much, and so that might give us an advantage.”

“I thought it might be something like that.   But I also suspect that the King believes that if worst came to worst, you could do the job and do it well enough to be worthy of the title.”

Aurei snickered, “I doubt that, but thank you for your encouragement, Laz.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Aurei, you have matured much since last fall when I first met you.”

“Well, I don’t feel mature, I can tell you that.   I just feel like more and more responsibility is given to me and I don’t really feel I have a firm grasp on any of it.   My mind feels completely bewildered most of the time and I live in constant dread of making a horrible mistake that will jeopardize people’s lives.”

“That is the burden of leadership, I’m afraid.”

“I guess so.”

They talked for hours as the ship sailed along through the night.   The crew left them to their conversation and Aurei was amazed at how talkative Eleazar was during the journey.  He joked and smiled, listened to her and asked her about her life growing up.   The more she got to know him, the more and more she found that she really liked him.  REALLY liked him.   As she spent the time talking with him, she found herself feeling somewhat flushed and almost nervous, though at the same time she felt very comfortable around him.

“So you like snow.”  Eleazar commented after the Captain mentioned that they were entering a snowstorm, which caused Aurei to jump up and glance out the bridge window.   Eleazar stood up and joined her, also finding that his already deep fondness for the girl was growing even stronger after their long talk.

“I love snow!”  She said as she stared out at the large flakes which all seemed to be coming at the glass of the bridge window.  “When I was a little girl, Mother Bugley used to take me outside in the snow and we’d build snowmen and women.   She loved it as much as I did.   I think everyone in town thought we were insane, but we’d both be out there all bundled up, building snowmen in a blizzard, and believe me; we had some big blizzards in Westmark.”

“That sounds wonderful”, he replied, wishing the memories of his mother included events like that.

“It was wonderful.   We did it for years.   When she began to get sick, she had to stay indoors and was too weak.   We had a big snow while she was very weak in bed and I went outside and made this huge snowman with a little snowman beside him and wrote ‘I Love you’ in the snow, then yelled up to her bedroom window and she managed to sit up enough to look out and see it.   She smiled, Laz, and it was the last time I ever saw her smile.   The next morning she died.”

A tear fell down the girl’s cheek as she relived the memory, but she wiped it away with a sad smile, “To this day, every time I see it snow, I feel like Mother Bugley is looking down and smiling at me.”

“I’m sure she is, Aurei.”

“She would have really liked you, Laz.”

“She sounds like a kind, patient lady.”

“Oh, she was; she absolutely hated it when someone called her ‘Duchess Bugley’ or something formal like that.   She really loved people and was an incredible judge of character.  I know she would have really liked you, and I bet you would have liked her, too.”

“I’m sure I would have; judging by how well she raised her daughter.”

Aurei glanced at him with a sweet smile at the compliment and put her head on his shoulder just for a moment, and then with a sigh she straightened up.

“So what do we do if the Necromancer’s Guild beats us to the airship?   They could be salvaging it when we arrive.”

“I was just thinking about that, actually.   Captain Tarron, if Necromancer Guild airships were to advance upon this ship while we are on the wrecked airship, I want you to make certain that you will try to flee and not risk the ship on our behalf.”

The Captain frowned from nearby, “Sir, that would depend on how many ships there were that came at me.   My crew can handle a squirmish.”

“I’m sure they can, Captain, but I fear that any attack by the Guild against us will be vastly more than a squirmish.   I want you to promise me that you will put the safety of this ship and your crew ahead of us if you are attacked while we are onboard the Emperor’s ship.”

“You are the boss, Earl Coldburn, so I shall comply with your orders.”

“Good.” Eleazar answered, knowing the man did not like the order at all, “Hopefully it won’t come to that.”

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Added on November 23, 2013
Last Updated on May 28, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, magic, Knights, Paladins

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 2: The Knights of Northmarch


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis