Home Fires Burning

Home Fires Burning

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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The group from Westmark arrive back home, only to find that some murderers are loose in the city.

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38.

Home Fires Burning

 

They all slept soundly after the vision and by the time morning arrived, it all seemed like a strange dream.   None of them mentioned the experience during breakfast, though all were rather quiet and introspective as they dined together.  

 

The Autumn Maid departed soon after and they left King Haroldris standing beside some of the surviving city officials as they slowly rose into the sky to begin their journey.  

About an hour later they reached Aegoppa, where Sir Davit and Sir Beotur took their leave from the group.  

 

Not too long after this, Sophia and Khord announced that they were going to try to teleport on to Flux --- if that was still possible-- but would meet them later in Westmark.  

 

Hugging both her mother and her cousin, Sophia soon had the spell working and they vanished from the bridge of the Autumn Maid in a flash.

 

The rest of the company sat in the fancy cabin for the rest of the day talking together.  As the day wore on, Aurei became more and more restless and anxious to get to King’s Reach then head on home.   She kept thinking about the strange, partially forgotten dream she’d had last night and she tried to recall more, while she unconsciously ran her hand up and down Eleazar’s leg as they sat together at the table across from Alis and Aeric.  

 

He jumped suddenly and underneath the table, she felt him gently but firmly grab her hand and remove it from where it had strayed.  He gave her a look of nervous surprise mixed with a very strong lustful glance that was only chained in by his determination to do things in a proper, respectful manner.   Ssinssrigg-Chath, after a long absence due to their stressful adventures, was now returning to the girl.

 

Her eyes glowed a fiery red as she smiled back at him, feeling an incredibly strong urge to go off alone with him and continue to explore parts of his body.  She brought his hand, still clasped in her own, up to her breast, but he pulled it away while giving her a slight raised eyebrow look.

She just continued smiling somewhat slyly, then turned to Alis and sighed, “I really wish we could speed this journey up.”

Alis grinned and then glanced over at her husband, “I share the same wish.”

Aurei leaned in close and whispered to her friend, “Have you… well, you know…”

“Aurei!” Alis giggled, “No, not yet; we didn’t want our first time to be on an airship, especially with so many others around.”

“Are you nervous?”

“No, actually, I think I’m going through something similar to what you are experiencing right now.”

“Oh my!   Well, at least you both are married.”  As soon as she said this, something was triggered in her mind from the cloudy dream she’d had the night before.   Her heart raced, for the thought came to her that she and Eleazar were - somehow- already married.   It was something in the dream that she couldn’t quite remember.

 

“Aurei?”  Alis asked, seeing her friend look suddenly puzzled.

“I’m just trying to remember a strange dream I had last night.”

“Really?   I had a very odd one as well.   A bunch of us were sitting here together talking to… (You won’t believe this) Yesh himself!”   Alis started laughing until she saw the stricken looks on Aurei, Eleazar and Aeric’s faces.  

 

A half an hour later they had polled all of their friends and learned that seven of them had the same dream.  

“I’ll bet Sophia and Khord did as well; I’ll ask them the next time I see them.”   Aurei said to Alis.

“I guess it was some sort of vision, then.”   The Half-Elf girl replied, “Aurei; in that dream, Yesh told me that my and Aeric’s vampirism has been removed.”

Aurei nodded, now recalling this, “"But you retain your immortality.”

Alis’ hands went to her lips, “Oh my heavens!   It was REAL, Aurei!   We met with Yesh!”

The Drow girl turned to Eleazar, “What do you think?”

“Oh, I know for certain that what Alis told you is correct; last night we met with Yesh in some sort of joined vision.”

“But you didn’t even mention it to me this morning!”

 

Eleazar shrugged, “I didn’t recall much of it until you two began talking abut it.”

Aurei looked around the bridge of the airship, “But if it did actually happen and it was a message from Yesh, then we all have huge responsibilities!   He wouldn’t just meet with anyone, would he?”

“Aurei, I imagine Yesh will do what Yesh desires to do.   Apparently he wanted us to be informed about several things.”  Eleazar furrowed his brow, struggling to remember all that he had heard in the vision.

“I can remember what he said to me now; can you?”  She asked the two half-Elves and Eleazar.

“I remembered this morning, actually.”  Aeric answered, “But I thought it was just a weird dream.”

 

The conversation turned to the messages for each of them.   Aurei was almost numb with dread at the importance of such a vision.  She remembered the vision, but still wondered about how she would be able to live up to the wishes of God.

***

 

It was late afternoon when they made it to King’s Reach and Aurei had spent the long afternoon talking not only with those who had shared the vision with her, but those who had not been included in the meeting.  

She felt that she needed everyone’s insight and since Laz was sharing her task, he too was participating in the discussion.  

 

King’s Reach was still heavily damaged, but already there was new construction going on as the magnificent construction golems cleared huge amounts of charred rubble day and night. 

Brandi, Krys, Leah and Luke were very glad to see them and they spent some time telling about their experiences during the past several days helping the people of King’s Reach recover.   They were very interested in hearing about the defeat of Fendoris and how the King had managed to turn the Imperial army back home, and then persuaded the Senators to help.

 

Rori remained one of their most pressing concerns, for the girl was still very upset over the death of her father.   They didn’t tell her anything about what they had found at her father’s estate, and fortunately she had not been present when Khord was around, so she did not know about what had happened to them and thankfully she didn’t ask.

 

Pectros and Zeatt took charge of her, and when Brandi and Krys learned what happened, they also helped comfort the girl.

 

They did not stay long in King’s Reach, and Queen Eioldth was very reluctant to leave.   She spent as long as possible talking to her palace staff and giving what comfort that she could.   She promised them all the help they needed, and yet all of them insisted that she not feel bad for going on to Westmark to rest.   Their love for her helped her feel better about leaving them, but still it was painful for her to leave the capital city with all of its people suffering, to go into exile.

 

***

 

It was late evening when the Autumn Maid finally reached the outskirts of Westmark.   Thought it was night, they could tell that something had happened as soon as they neared the city.   A burnt smell seemed to linger in the air and as they docked at the ducal tower, Thorm was the first to discover the reason.   Glancing over to the Dwarven Armorer’s Guild’s building, he was horrified to see blackened walls where a fire had burned.  

 

As soon as they rushed across the gangplank, the ducal guards filled them in on the details.

 

Two Dwarven armorers that had worked for the Guild for several years and who had transferred to Westmark when the guild house was built, had apparently received reprimands by their foreman for shoddy workmanship and for coming to work drunk.  

Enraged, they returned to the building after a long evening of drinking, broke inside, and tried their best to destroy it.   They dumped molten iron into the work area and started a fire that fortunately did not consume the stone building.   Then they returned to the Muddy Boot and attacked several patrons, seriously injuring five people and killing a travelling merchant, before escaping into the night.

That had occurred only the night before, and the city gates had remained barred all day and all businesses closed up while the city guards searched building by building for them.  

 

At sunset, the ducal guards had found the Church of Yesh broken into and desecrated, and the body of the Dwarven foreman was found sprawled on the altar.

 

“They tried to set the church on fire, but thankfully only managed to damage a pew before it went out.”   Al Trisdes told them as they were escorted into the tower.

“Surely by now all the houses in the city have been checked.”  Eleazar said.

“Yes, m’lord, but they are not staying in one place very long and we think they may have some magic items that are helping conceal them.”

“Aye, they do.”  Thorm answered with a frustrated growl, “Both of ‘em have some sort of ring that lets ‘em avoid detection of the magical sort.   They bragged about it to everyone.    I don’t know why they had such rings, but t’aint for good, for sure.   Maybe they had plans to go a-sneakin’ around.   At any rate, ye’ll not be able to find them magically.”

 

“Thorm, what do you know about them?”  Aurei asked as the group descended the stairs from the roof.

 

“They’re just common working Dwarves " from a family of skilled laborers, like many of ‘em.   But these two love the drink more then they loved their work.   I thought they’d be trouble, but I didn’t think they’d go mad.   Fuelled by liquor and they’re a-givin’ my workers a bad reputation in this town.   I’ll have both of their heads, myself!”

“Calm down, Thorm; we’ll find them.”   Pectros patted the Dwarf on the back, then turning to Aurei, “Some homecoming, isn’t it, Duchess?”

“Yeah, it seems like every time I leave, there is chaos when I return.”

“Thorm, how will these two be armed, would you guess?”  Eleazar asked.

“Probably axes, I’d say.   Most Dwarves learn the use of an axe, even non-fightin’ Dwarves.   When they’re drunk, they’ll be a-fearin’ nothing.   Al, where are all my other workers?”

“Well, we figured it would be best to keep everything as locked down as possible and so all of them are in their quarters and armed.”

“Good, ye did the right thing, lad.”

“I’d like to check on the church.” Zeatt said to no-one in particular.

“I’ll escort you; Aeric, would you and your lady come with us?”   Alvis asked the Half-Elf and they nodded.

“I’d best see what has happened to the armory.”  Thorm sighed and looked to Lute, “There’s safety in numbers, and so would ye want to come with me?   It’ll let ye see what work we’re in for.”

Lute agreed, but Siris grabbed his arm, “I’m coming too.”

“No; it’s too dangerous.”  He patted her belly.

“Dangerous?   Good heavens, Lute!   After what we’ve all just been through?   I don’t think two little old drunken Dwarves will be much threat to us.”   She glanced over to Thorm and gave him a toothy smile, “No offense, boss.”

 

“Don’t discount them, lass.   I’m wonderin’ if they may have had more reason for breakin’ into the armory then just to destroy it.   I’ll wager they took some weapons and I’m a-bettin’ they took the enchanted ones.”

 

Siris shrugged, “I’m not worried with the two of you around.”

“Well we may not be much help if they have spears or javelins.”

“Or bows.”  Lute added, but their protests only made the pregnant Orc more determined.

“I’m going to go with you.   Don’t make me mad; I may be pregnant but I’m not above clubbing both of your ears.”

Thorm snorted and patted Lute’s arm, “Ah, lad, I’m afraid ye are in for it.   She’ll be a mother soon and she already reminds me of my mum.”

Siris crossed her arms and glared at the Dwarf, “Then you know it’s not wise to talk back to a mother.”

Thorm just shook his head, “Alright; thank heavens when your baby’s born I’ll not have to argue with ye all day at the forges.”

“Ha!” Siris snapped, “Orc women go into battle all the time with babies strapped to their backs; I figure I can work chainmail links with a baby on my back.”

Thorm looked to Lute in alarm, and the huge Half Ogre just laughed loud, “She’s just messing with you, boss.”

 

Siris laughed at Thorm’s uncertain expression.   They could almost see his visions of a screaming baby filling the already loud atmosphere of the armorers’ guild.

“Relax!” She tussled his hair -which always annoyed him- and whispered, “I wouldn’t bring a baby into that environment.   You’re safe, at least until he or she is old enough to learn the craft, then you’ll have three of us to keep you company.”

“Yesh, preserve me!” The Dwarf groaned as he led the two of them down the stairway closest to the side where the guild building stood.

“Aurei, despite their magic rings, I may be able to find the two criminals magically.”  Eioldth told the Drow girl while they watched both Thorm’s group and Zeatt’s group hurry down different stairwells.

“Pardon me, Your Highness,” Al interrupted, “But we tried several detection spells.”

“How?” Aurei asked, “Who was here to cast them?”

“The business partner of the merchant that was killed is a wizard who cast spells of detection twice, but neither spell showed us anything.”

“Surely there is something I can do to help.”  The Queen commented.

“They are dangerous and drunk, Your Highness, so I would humbly suggest that you stay some place safe.”   Al replied politely.

Eioldth just gave him an amused look.

“I don’t mean any disrespect, Your Highness, but you are expecting an heir to the throne and I feel it is my duty as a loyal subject of the King to keep his lovely Queen and child safe from harm.”

“Your Highness; if you wouldn’t mind, I have something you could do to help.”  Aurei gestured to Rori, who stood there with her face downcast, surrounded by Pectros, Luke and Leah.

Eioldth smiled, “I think I can do that.”   She went over to the young Sorceress, “Rori, why don’t you and the children come with me.   I have some ideas on how we might be able to magically find the Dwarves, but it will take some time and I’ll need some help.  Are you up to it?”

The girl nodded, “What can we do?”

“I’ll show you; in fact, I’ll teach you how to do this so that if something like this ever happens again, you’ll be able to do it.   Luke, Leah; I’ll need your help as well, if you don’t mind sacrificing sleep.”

The two youngsters eagerly agreed, and the Queen told the three of them to wait for her in the Ducal Keep’s guest chambers. 

 

As soon as they left, she turned to Pectros, Eleazar and Aurei, “How was that?”

“Thank you, Your Majesty " do you really have something that might help?”   Aurei asked.

“Actually, I do, and it will take a while, but it could help.   I’ll let you know what I find, but it will probably be morning before I have any results.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty; she is taking the death of her father badly.   I think much of it is guilt over her leaving home.”   Pectros told the Queen.

“Guilt can consume someone.   I am glad she has you and those two children to comfort her.”

“She is quite fond of Luke and has grown equally as fond of Leah.   As all of them are now orphans, that may explain it.”

“They are all not really orphans when they have people that dearly love them surrounding them.   I’ll try to get her mind focused on magic; perhaps that will help.   I imagine you have a lot to do.”

“We all do.” Aurei answered for her Captain of the Guard as she led him and Eleazar on down the stairs, to resume her duties as Duchess.



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Added on February 4, 2014
Last Updated on April 21, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Fantasy, Adventure, romance, Sword and Sorcery, Good versus Evil

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 3: Bane of the Necromancers


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