Future Plans

Future Plans

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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A new morning in Westmark brings changes and a focus on the future.

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61.

Future Plans

 

 

It was dawn before Aurei popped awake and she immediately looked around, wondering if she’d dreamed everything from the night before.   Glancing at her aunt, she was pleased to see that her color had returned to normal and she was sleeping peacefully.   Even her bite wounds were gone.   It hadn’t been a dream.  

 

She glanced closer at Zeatt.   She was so young looking, certainly not old enough to be her aunt and Sophia and Khord’s mother.    As she was looking at her aunt, Zeatt moved a bit and opened her eyes.

“Sophia?   No… Aurei!”  She sat up quickly in bed, “What happened?!   The Vampires!”

“It’s alright, Aunt Zeatt.”  She gently helped her lie down.   “We won the fight… but not without loss.   Vinth and Neal are dead.”

“Oh no, Yesh have mercy on their souls!”  Tears filled her eyes and Aurei took her hand.

“They died quickly and without pain.   Two Death Knights attacked us, but they too are dead.”   She recounted the whole experience to her and about the touch-and-go night she’d had, though she left out mentioning Sophia and Khord’s arrival.

“Then how am I awake now and whole in body?   I should have died, Aurei.”   She took her hand and sniffed it for a moment and looked up at her suspiciously. 

“Dart’loxinchu.   When you’ve used it for years, you become very aware of the smell of it, even with our race’s poor sense of smell.   Sophia was here, wasn’t she?”

Aurei’s surprise only confirmed Zeatt’s suspicions. 

“They asked me not to tell you.”

“They?   So Khord was with her?”

“Yes.”

Zeatt seemed relieved at the news and smiled, “Are they still here?”

“No, they teleported in and out again after she used a wand to heal you.”

“Where were they going?”

“She said back to Aeropolis.  Aunt Zeatt, why wouldn’t she want to see you when you woke up?”

Zeatt shrugged, though something in her eyes told Aurei that she might have more than a slight idea of the reason.

“So what did you think of your cousins?”

“Khord is really tall for a Drow, but he seemed very polite and friendly.   Sophia is very out-going, Aunt Zeatt, and my heavens she’s pretty!   I loved her long hair; it went down to her waist.   She sure didn’t seem younger than I am.”

Zeatt chuckled, “She never has acted her age.   I mean that in both good and bad ways.   She’s extremely headstrong and determined.   Sadly, she doesn’t believe that I am worthy of confiding with regarding the events in her life.   How did she know I was near death?”

“Uh… well…” Aurei hesitated, remembering her cousin’s charge not to tell her.

“She has a scrying device, doesn’t she?   Don’t worry, I suspected she did.”   Zeatt seemed very pleased by this.   “So she’s been watching us?”

“I guess so.   But I think she more-or-less just checks up on us from time to time.”

“Well, that is good to know.  I was worried about them.   Both of them.   Did you know that the two of them are lovers?”

 

Aurei’s mouth fell open, “Really?  That’s-“ She stopped herself from using the first word that came to her mind.

“Sick?”  Zeatt finished her thought, “Yes, I thought so too.   They grew up together as brother and sister, you know.    When they started maturing, I noticed they were, if anything, growing more interested in being around each other.   I had hoped that their childhood together would create the bond of siblings between them, but I fear that Sophia probably persuaded him that it was alright.   I can’t really say anything to them, as they are not actually related to each other.   I know Khord is bothered by keeping their secret, but he loves her too much to leave her.”

“What about Sophia?   She loves him too, doesn’t she?”

“Well, yes, she does strongly.   But she also uses… she uses sex to gain spells from the Wizards and Mages in Aeropolis.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ve not witnessed it, of course, but she is known to flirt with every wizard of renown she can find.   I’ve received reports that she visits their homes and returns the following morning.   The implications are clear.”

“Wouldn’t that make Khord jealous?”

“I’d think so, but Sophia is very controlling, Aurei.”

“Aunt Zeatt, I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I think you are mistaken about Sophia.”

“Really?   Why do you say that, child?”

“I don’t know; I’ve spent years working in the Muddy Boot and believe me, you become a pretty good judge of character.   I think your daughter is much smarter than you know and has created a mask that she can hide behind.”

“You are saying that she fakes her affections for magic?”

“No, only her means of gaining that magic.   I suspect she is leading the wizards on and somehow fools them into giving her what she wants without doing anything physical.  I think she actually enjoys the reputation she has earned.”

“Well, she certainly has a reputation of a harlot.”

“I think it’s just a masquerade.   If she is, um, in a relationship with Khord, then I suspect she would not hurt him.”

“Well, I don’t know, Aurei, but I hope you’re right.”

“So how did you find out about her and Khord?”

“Part of it was a mother’s intuition.   I found them together once, asleep in each other’s arms.”

Aurei shifted uncomfortably, recalling her Aunt’s discovery of Laz and her.   Zeatt saw her discomfort and laughed.

“Oh, child, I’m sorry, that wasn’t meant as something aimed at you and Eleazar.”

“Aunt Zeatt, you understand that I plan on spending the night with him from now on.”

She nodded, “I suspected that was the case.    As a woman, I understand, Aurei, though I have never felt for a man what you feel for Eleazar… or what Sophia feels for Khord, but I do recognize the need.   Especially with the condition you have found yourself in.   But I am also an Archbishop of Yesh, Aurei.   You know that I must tell you that if you engage in physical intimacy with Eleazar outside of marriage, you are endangering your status as a Paladin.   Moreover, you both demonstrated how important you both are when we go up against undead.   You and I both know that soon we will be taking the battle to the Necromancer’s Guild on their home ground.    Until that battle is over and we are victorious, I’d strongly advise you to refrain from… relations… with Eleazar.”

“I’m not sure I can promise that, Aunt Zeatt.   I could right now, but when that fever comes over me, I don’t think I will be able to fight it.”

“Well then, why not just marry him?    In the bonds of marriage it would not be a sin.”

“That would make most sense, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes, though I’m afraid you are a bit young to wed.”

“Our souls are already united, Aunt Zeatt.”

“I know, child.    It’s an alien thing to Drow, but I know it’s from Yesh.”

Aurei sighed, “I’ll talk to him about it; he really wants to do what is right.   I scared him to death in the bathhouse the other day.   I know he could wait, but I’m not at all sure I can.   But I know that I can persuade him to do whatever I want.”

Zeatt looked surprised, “Now you are sounding like your cousin.”

“Maybe I’m just embracing adulthood as a Drow woman.”

“You are just now experiencing the beginnings of it, Aurei. First you have to learn how to handle it.”

“I guess you’re right.   But I know that sooner or later, I will marry Eleazar, if I have to pull him kicking and screaming to the altar.”

“I don’t think that will be the case at all, child.   He is crazy about you.”

Aurei smiled, “I know.”

Their talk turned to other things and in a short time she went downstairs to prepare something for her Aunt to eat.

When she returned to the room, she found Eleazar seated on the edge of the bed, talking to her.  

“Hi.”  He said as she entered.

“He came here looking for you and found me awake.”  Zeatt explained.

“Well, I came to see how you were doing as well, Reverend Mother.”

“I’m glad you did, Eleazar, I enjoyed getting a chance to talk to you.”

 

This alarmed Aurei, who now was desperate to know what the two had talked about.   But the room began filling with their friends who had heard conversation in the room and were all eager to see if the Drow Matron had recovered.   Even Pectros, with Rori and Luke at his side, came in to see her.

Aurei slipped out to go next door and check on Lute’s status, but Eleazar followed her and grabbed her hand.

She turned and was rewarded by a very long kiss in the hall.

 

“What was that for?”  She asked, feeling the Ssinssrigg-Chath fever beginning to stir within her.

“It was just a good morning kiss.”   He said as he embraced her.

“So are you going to tell me what you talked to her about?”

“Eventually.   But the King wants to meet all of us after breakfast this morning.   I’ve already spoken to him and he has asked that we have the funeral for Neal and Vinth today, because he and the Queen are heading back to King’s Reach this afternoon aboard the Autumn Maid.”

“Today?”

“Yes; he wants to start making plans for the assault on the Necromancer’s Guild.   He’s taking Sir Alvis with him.”

“Am I the last to know?”

“No, no, we just sat up all night talking.”

“You haven’t slept?”  She touched his face in concern.

“My dream partner wasn’t available last night.”

 

Aurei leaned in and kissed him, “I missed it too, though I had an interesting experience that I’ll tell you about… as soon as you fill me in on what you and Aunt Zeatt were talking about!”

“Later, we need to let the rest of our friends know about the meeting.   He wants to meet in half an hour.”

“Half an hour?   I haven’t even cleaned up from yesterday, I look dreadful.”

“You look beautiful, so don’t worry.”

“You are too sweet.   We can bathe later.”  She said softly, her eyes glowing red.

“Aurei, I’ll dump you out in the snow.” He threatened, but she thought she saw more than a little of a red glow coming from his eyes too.

 

***

Together they went in to check on Lute and found him asleep, but Siris was seated in the bed next to him, knitting and smiling happily.

“He woke up a few hours ago and said he was hungry!” She proudly told them, her yellow eyes glistening with tears of joy. 

“Has he eaten anything?”

“No, he fell back asleep, after he said that.”

They told her about the King’s meeting and promised her they’d let her know what was discussed, and left her to inform everyone else.

They found Aeric and Alis last.   Both were sitting quietly in the Muddy Boot eating breakfast.   They both smiled when they approached.   After telling them about the meeting (which by now was only 10 minutes away) the two half-elves looked at each other for an instant and with a deep breath, Aeric turned to them and announced, “Alis and I are getting married.”

If they had expected shock or disapproval, they were terribly disappointed, for Aurei and even Eleazar were thrilled with their news, to their great relief.

“Well after what happened to us with the Vampires, we both felt it was crazy to keep our feelings for each other secret from everyone, especially after the two of you revealed your love for each other at the last group meeting we had here.”  Alis explained.

“I’m glad we inspired you.”  Aurei replied happily, “When do you plan to wed?”

“In the spring.” She replied, “But we’ll have to talk to your aunt first, because we want her to marry us.”

They didn’t have time to talk further and instead hurried over to the Ducal Keep where the King wanted to meet with them.

 

***

 

“I’m sorry to call this meeting so impromptu, but I wanted to tell you of the plans I have for continuing our eradication of the Necromancer’s Guild.    Obviously, we’re going to have to take the war to their territory in the Nofesylvis Mountains, but we need to plan carefully and in utmost secrecy.”

Aurei raised her hand and told the King the information that Sophia had given to her.   When asked where it came from, she went ahead and told him, since Zeatt already knew about her visit.

“Well, that does make sense; it will be more dangerous for our expedition, but if we could find them all there when we arrive, perhaps we could destroy them.   That means we don’t have much time.   I envision a force of Knights, Wizards and Clerics mounting a surprise attack on them, while at the same time we have a smaller force to penetrate their defenses and do as much damage as it can to help the main force.   This would mean the strike force would have to sneak into the region before the main force arrived."   

"This strike force would have to be small but tough, and that is why I and the Queen are leaving after the funeral of our two friends to return to King’s Reach.   I have some team members in mind that I want to speak to.   My thoughts are thus; I will go and make arrangements in King’s Reach, and Sir Alvis and Matron Zeatt will accompany me so they can contact the remaining Blood Knights as well as any Clerics of Yesh that escaped the persecution in Aeropolis.”

Aurei glanced over at her aunt, who smiled slightly, telling her that she already knew of the plan.

“It is not quite three months until spring; we’ll meet in exactly three months in King’s Reach, under the guise of a Spring Ball.   That will explain everyone’s presence at once.   By that time we will have the details of the invasion planned.   For your city’s part, I ask that you continue training your knights and that Master Thorm ramp up the production of weapons and armor for our forces.   I will, of course, pay for this."    

"I will have the remains of the other destroyed airship that Aurei and Sir Alvis visited some time ago, brought to Westmark, along with a crew to refinish it for our service.   I know we don’t have much time, but we must keep the momentum we have from our success yesterday.   It is my prayer that soon we all will live in a world without the Necromancer’s Guild!”

His speech received passionate applause and they tied up a few odds and ends of business.  

 

Two hours later the town gathered inside the Church of Yesh for the funeral service of Vinth and Neal.   It was an emotional, but short service, and Matron Zeatt insisted on officiating at it, chanting the prayer of release for the souls of their friends with her beautiful voice.

An hour later their funeral pyres burned to the west of town as servants of the King loaded up the Autumn Maid for a journey back to King’s Reach.

“I’ll let my horsemen stay here until spring; they would not want to leave their steeds behind and would be lost without them.” The King told Aurei as they stood on the Ducal Keep roof to see them off.

Aurei hated to see Zeatt go with them.   She had never known how wonderful it was to have an aunt before she had met her.   Shamefully, she cried as she hugged her before they boarded.

“Child, don’t cry, it is only for a few months and I plan on returning to Westmark, if Yesh allows it.   I like your city and your people.   Do not be sad; it took us 74 years to reconnect with each other; I have no plans to let even half a year go by without seeing my favorite niece again.”

Aurei hugged her tightly and then had to turn away so she wouldn’t watch her go.   Eleazar extended his hand to her to shake, but the Drow Matron instead gave him a hug, “You will be family soon.   Remember what I told you, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am, I will.”

Waving at the others gathered on the platform, she boarded quickly, escorted by Sir Alvis, who wanted to get out of the sun as quickly as possible.    King Haroldris bid them farewell and promised he would be in contact soon.   Eleazar walked with him onto the Autumn Maid while they finished talking, giving Aurei time with the Queen.

“Your Majesty, I didn’t have a chance to tell you how sorry I was about the death of Vinth.”

Eioldth smiled sadly, “It grieves me, Aurei, to see such a fine Orc as Vinth die.”

“Have you anyone to replace him?”

“No, there is nobody to replace Vinth.   But I do have many young Orc men who think their greatest glory would come by being selected as a member of the Queen’s honor guard.”

“Will you keep the honor guard in place?”   Aurei asked, thinking of her conversation with Siris.

“Absolutely!   It has brought a pride to the Orcs that has lifted them out of centuries of savagery.   I promise you, Aurei; I will rebuild my bodyguard, if for no other reason, then to honor Vinth and his men.”

“I’m glad, Your Highness.   I think Siris will be greatly relieved.”

“She is a very sweet, dear lady.   I want you to make certain that she and Lute come with your group in the spring.   I know by then she will be in the mid portion of her pregnancy, but if she feels like travelling, encourage her to come with you.   I have something I’d like to give her for her baby.”

Aurei glanced down at the Queen’s belly bulge, “You’ve still got a while to go.”

“Over a year, but it will go quickly.   I dearly love carrying a child, Aurei.    I imagine it is a joy you will experience one day… but not too soon, I would pray.”

“Don’t worry, Your Highness.” She replied with a chuckle.

“Good; I want you to enjoy your relationship with Eleazar, and much of the most satisfying part of a relationship is non-physical.   That is the part that strengthens a relationship.   You have been blessed with a soul mate, Aurei, take things slow and enjoy every minute of it, and you will cherish it forever.”

“I will, Your Majesty.”

She hugged her again and Eioldth hurried across onto the Autumn Maid to join her husband, while Eleazar came back across to stand beside Aurei.

 

As the Autumn Maid took off with the sound a raging wind, Eleazar put his arm around Aurei who was waving sadly at the airship.  She waved until they disappeared from sight in the east.

As they slowly walked back into the Keep, Aurei stopped him on the stairs.

“Laz, you’ve got to tell me; what did you talk to Aunt Zeatt about this morning?”

“She was concerned about our relationship.”

“Oh no!” She groaned.

“She presented some strong arguments for keeping ourselves pure, if you know what I mean.”

“So I’m diseased, now?”

“No, she didn’t mean that, Aurei.”

“So what did she mean?”

“She just wants us to not let our… youthfulness… let us get carried away.”

“In other words, she is afraid I will seduce you and mess everything up: our status as Paladins, the war with the Necromancer’s Guild, maybe even life as we know it in this world!”

“I don’t think she meant that, hon.   She just didn’t want something you can’t control to ruin something for you.”

“I’m not sure it would ruin anything, Laz.  Is it so wrong to love someone and want to be with them?”

“No.  But love should come out of an untainted desire.   What if a man got drunk in the Muddy Boot and got into a fight with his best friend?    He might regret it in the morning, as it was the alcohol that made him act differently than he would have normally.”

“So you think I’m drunk?”

“Of course not, but you admitted the other day that you felt like you were out of control.”

Aurei sighed, exasperated, "Okay, fine, I see what she meant.   So what does she want us to do?   Get his and hers chastity belts and give the keys to her?”

Eleazar laughed at the image, “That might not be a bad idea!   Seriously though, she simply suggested that we don’t try to make things more difficult for us when possible.   Bathe separately and sleep separately, for example.”

Aurei opened her mouth to protest, but Eleazar put a finger to her lips and continued, “I told her we’d compromise.   I promised her we’d not visit the bath house together any more and we’d keep our clothes on, but that we would still sleep together, and I emphasized that I meant we’d sleep and not… well, you know.”

“I’m so glad I had a say in all of this!”

“Would you have agreed to it?”

“No!”

“Well, that’s why you weren’t consulted, I guess.”

“Maybe having an aunt isn’t such a wonderful thing.”  Aurei murmured as they descended into the Keep.



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Added on December 26, 2013
Last Updated on April 29, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Fantasy, Undead, Necromancer, Wizard, magic, Sorceress, adventure, relationships, romance

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


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A Chapter by Eddie Davis