Secrets of Dawn

Secrets of Dawn

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
"

Queen Eioldth spies on Aurei and Eleazar, while Zeatt's group makes a grizzly discovery.

"

40.

Secrets of Dawn

 

In the grand guest chamber of the ducal keep, Queen Eioldth was busy explaining to Rori, Luke and Leah how she was going to try to locate the Dwarven criminals.  

“There are spells that enable you to locate someone, but these are useless when they have magic to cloak them from being found.  Yet, there are also spells that are used to find lost items and they can also be used in reverse.”

 

“So you cast the spell on an item and it will show you where the owner is?”  Rori asked, her mood lighter as she listened to Eioldth’s plan.

“Yes, but of course we have to have an item that belonged to one of the Dwarves.   I’ve sent one of the guards to the Muddy Boot.   You see, Dwarves love their beer and these two criminals are no different.   I was able to learn from the guards that they both had their own steins which they left behind when they went on their rampage.   I’m having one of their steins brought back here and I’ll cast this spell upon it.   I doubt the cloaking spell they are using will prevent this spell from finding at least one of them.”

“That is brilliant.”  Leah commented, excited at being present during the process.

“Thank you sweetheart.   I’ve set up a crystal ball that I think will work fine as a scrying device, though I should make sure.”

“Why wouldn’t it work?”   Luke asked.

“Well, if the crystal is blemished or flawed, the magic won’t flow through it.   Rori, do you know how to cast a scrying spell?”

“No, ma’am.”

“I’ll teach it to you while we’re waiting for the guards.   Children, who would you like to look in upon?”

“Aurei and Eleazar!” Leah exclaimed, as she had seen the two of them head off together.  

The Queen hesitated for a moment, not wanting to catch them in some sort of a private moment, but she knew they were going out to look for the Dwarves, so it would not be anything embarrassing.

“We won’t be able to hear them, will we?”  Luke asked.
“It depends on the spell and the scrying device.   Some crystal balls do provide sound when the proper spell is cast and if the crystal is exceptionally pure.   Or if you communicate from one scrying device to another scrying device, you do get sound.   Actually I can do this with this spell if they are less than a mile away and if I know the subjects well, which I do.   Come, I’ll cast it and show you.”

 

She led them over to where she had placed the ball of crystal in the middle of a small table.   The children knelt at her feet, while Rori took a piece of parchment and a quill, to write down the words that Eioldth would chant.

 

The Queen chanted slowly and clearly, to give the young sorceress time to write down her words, and a few minutes later, the crystal ball glowed a beautiful blue. 

 

Eioldth spoke their names and suddenly the image of Eleazar and Aurei popped into view, to the children’s delight.   They were walking hand-in-hand in the dim light of dawn and their voices came across as if they were standing next to them.

“We’ll have to tell everyone, so when do you want to have it?”   Eleazar was asking her.

“I don’t know; I’d like it to be very soon or Salli may be right.”

“It’ll be a huge wedding.”   The half-Drow commented with a smile.

Aurei, however, looked troubled and stopped in the middle of the empty street, “I’ve been thinking a lot about that.   You know, Alis and Aeric’s wedding was so beautiful and it seemed almost like a fairy-tale.   But look what happened right afterwards.   There has been so much that has happened recently, I don’t think anyone would really much be in the mood for a big celebration.   I don’t feel right spending money that we need to use to help the people in King’s Reach, Aegoppa and Southgate with, to pay for a fancy wedding.   Plus, if it were to be a big success, that might make Aeric and Alis bitter since their honeymoon really never started.”

“So you don’t want a fancy wedding?” 

“I’d love a beautiful wedding like Alis’; most girls dream of that.   I think, however, it would be more respectful, to just have Aunt Zeatt marry us in a small ceremony with only a handful of friends there.   Since apparently half the town thinks we’re already acting like we’re married anyway-“

“Fornication!”  Eleazar said, mimicking Grandmum Salli’s voice very closely.

“Exactly; so they’d probably not believe that I had the right to wear a white wedding dress anyway.”

“You don’t even want a dress?!”  Eleazar looked to be in disbelief.

 

She hesitated before answering for a moment, but finally said with a sigh, “No; I just want to be your wife.   More then anything.   I’ve had a lot of big honors thrown upon me this past year and I really don’t think I deserve any of them.   I think a simple ceremony would be more appropriate for me.   What about you; did you want a fancy ceremony?”

 

He leaned in and hugged her, “I just want you to be happy.   I think every woman should feel like a princess on her wedding day.”

“I’m sure it’s not all that its cracked up to be.   Let’s just plan on a simple ceremony.   We’ll not tell anyone except Aunt Zeatt, but we’ll tell her the day before hand so she can’t rig up something big.   Let’s say a week from today.”

“A week from today; at the church here in town?”

“Yes; if it hasn’t been too damaged by the vandals.   We’ll need two witnesses, we’ll get Alis and Aeric, but we won’t tell them what we need, only to meet us over at the church and then it will be too late for them to plan anything.”

“You might offend some of our friends this way.”  Eleazar warned.

“No, I doubt it.   It probably will be a great relief for them not to have to endure something else with me at the center of attention.”

“You don’t even want to tell the King and Queen?”

“Especially not them!   The King has far too much to worry about to fit a wedding into his schedule, and Eioldth has worried me to death the past couple of days.   Not only did she get poisoned, but she was knocked down several times when we were in battle.   Pregnant Queens should not go through stuff like that.   I love her like a sister, Laz, but she’s going to lose that baby if she doesn’t take it easy.   I know her; she’d probably try to put something together for us and exhaust herself in the process.   So we’ll keep her in the dark too.”

 

Eioldth looked up from the crystal ball with a somewhat annoyed, but determined look, “We’ll see about that!”

She turned to Rori and the children, “Not a word about what we just heard; do you understand?”

The children agreed, all wide-eyed in the importance of the secret.  

Rori smiled for the first time in many days, “What have you got in mind?”

The Queen just returned a mischievous smile to her fellow magic-user, “Why, I never heard a thing!   But I do need to run a few quick errands, so wait here.”

“Your Majesty, what about the two criminals?”  Rori called after the Elven lady as she rushed toward the stairs.

“I’ve fought worse than them, so don’t worry.”   She disappeared in a blur as she raced down the stairs.

“What’s she going to do?”  Leah asked the older girl.

“I’m not sure, but I think something sneaky.” 

The two children liked the sound of that, sensing something interesting was in the works.

 

***

 

A short distance away, a Drow, two Half-Elves and a human Knight were standing on the porch of a large house that sat behind the Church of Yesh.   It had served as the parsonage for Brother Darv, but now sat empty for half a year; locked and shut up tight.   Except for one small attic window set high on the point of the side of the house.

Zeatt, Alvis, Aeric and Alis had found the church in a terrible state of disarray.   The Dwarves had smashed their way through the back door of the church with axes, chopped up the altar and the two front most pews. One of them had dragged the body of their foreman and thrown him on top of the altar before they had started hacking on the lectrum --until something had seemed to stop them.  

 

After insuring that the church was secure, the four were walking the perimeter around the church when Zeatt, with her superior night vision, detected the attic window of the parsonage broken out in the pre-dawn light.

 

“Let’s check the doors.”  Alvis suggested, and they did just that, finding them firmly locked.

“I don’t think a Dwarf would be able to get through a small window like that.”  Alis commented as she stared at the slightly hanging window shutter.

“It wasn’t like that when we left for your wedding.”  Zeatt told her, “I went in there looking for an altar cloth.   The attic is used for storage of church items and I’m quite sure I would have noticed it broken like that when I was rummaging around the attic.”

“Well, we should check it out then.”   Aeric suggested, “Do you have the key, Matron Zeatt?”

The Drow cleric pulled out a small ring of keys and held up one.

“I’d advise we go cautiously, for we don’t know what sort of magic those two might possess… if they’re even in there.”  

Alvis took the key from Zeatt and they followed him to the front door of the parsonage.   Alis and Aeric had their swords out in readiness as Alvis unlocked the door.   Zeatt watched all around in case someone attempted to either sneak away or try a surprise attack.

 

It took the Knight Commander only a moment to unlock the door and it swung inward on very well maintained, silent hinges.  The early morning sun had not brightened the sky enough to offer any light to the interior of the parsonage.   But the slight smell that drifted out to their nostrils told them that something wasn’t right inside.   It was the smell of something dead, probably not just inside the doorway by its faintness, but somewhere within the house.

 

“Dead animal?” Alis whispered, but Aeric and Alvis both shook their heads.

“It doesn’t smell quite right for that.   I don’t know what it is, but it’s… different.”  Alvis answered as they cautiously looked around the room.   It was empty, with Zeatt’s tracks from several days ago slightly coated with dust.   But there was also a mark in the dust on the floor where something had been pulled or pushed across the room, toward the stairs.   This mark seemed very fresh.

 

The four all cast glances at each other.

“Perhaps we should call some others to-“

“Hello?” Came a voice from behind them; it was Eioldth, looking somewhat hesitant after seeing their expressions.    Zeatt quietly went over to her and quickly filled her in on what was going on.  

“So you think the Dwarves may be upstairs?”   She whispered, holding her nose against the smell of death to keep her from being sick at her stomach.

“Yes,” Zeatt replied, “Have you found their location?”

“No; I’m still waiting for the guards to return with their flagons.   I just came over to tell you something, but that can wait.    Do you want me to go get the guards?”

 

“No, we outnumber them, and it could just be a dead stray cat or dog that died upstairs.    We need to find out though.   Is the smell too much for you, Your Majesty?”

“It is hard to keep from retching.”
“Do you have your Magic Hand ring on?”

“Yes.”

“Well, why don’t you stay down here - near the door, and we’ll go check out upstairs.   If anything comes down that is not one of us… well, you certainly know what to do.”

“That sounds fine to me.”

 

Zeatt returned to the others and joined Alvis in the lead up the winding stairs to the second floor.  All marks and footprints disappeared when they reached the second floor, as if someone has dusted them away.

 

The smell was far worse on this level and they cautiously checked each room, finding them all empty and undisturbed.   There were some marks on the ladder that led upwards from the end of the hallway to a large trapdoor that opened up into the attic.

 

“Not good.”  Alis mumbled, “There is no way to go up but one by one.”

“I’ll go first,” Alvis volunteered, “Then Aeric, you follow.   We’re wearing stronger armor and I’ll use Helke at the first sign of movement up there.”

Zeatt didn’t like the idea, for to climb the ladder they had to sheath their weapons, but it seemed to be the only way.

Sir Alvis started climbing the ladder, with Sir Aeric at his feet behind him.

 

As soon as he swung open the trap door, the smell of decay came to them so strongly that they all gagged and coughed for a moment.   Alvis fought valiantly not to throw up and instead climbed up into the attic while holding his breath.  

 

He paused for a second when he cleared the top of the hatch to let his eyes adjust and to look around.   Then he suddenly hurried up the rest of the ladder, gesturing for Aeric and those behind him to come quickly.

 

The two half-Elves and the Drow Matron quickly ascended the ladder and what they found surprised them.

 

In the dim light provided by the rising sun shining through the small broken attic window’s shutter, a grizzly sight was before them.  

 

In the middle of the cluttered attic lay the mutilated body of a Dwarf.  It looked as if his throat had been violently ripped out, splattering blood throughout the attic room.   The stuff had turned sticky and black in the hot, closed up environment, and hundreds of flies buzzed around the goo, telling them it had not been a recent killing.

 

Alis had to leave the room and could be heard just down the stairs, her stomach heaving from the sight and smell.

 

“Another murder.”   Alvis mumbled, breathing through his mouth to dilute the stench.

“I’ll go get the ducal guards.”   Zeatt volunteered, eager to be out of the slaughter site.

She and Alis quickly went down the stairs and explained to the Queen what they had found.   As the three women were hurrying toward the Ducal Keep, Eioldth spoke up, “It is a horrible time to do so,   but I have something I need to ask you immediately.”

The two women turned their attention to the Queen and soon she was letting them in on her plan.

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Reviews

Okay, I'm going to start from #1 now.

Posted 10 Years Ago


When you said "Yet, there are also spells that are used to find lost items and they can also be used in reverse" I did not make sense...until you explained in the next sentence. But I still kept thinking is it really "reverse," or is it an alternative/clever way.

The queen said: "run a few quick errands" but it does not sound like how a queen would talk. She would probably send a servant to do "errands". Or if it's something personal for her to do...maybe something more elegant in speech.

Soon after that you said “I’ve fought worse then them, so don’t worry.” Use "than" instead of "then." "Then" means something done later, in sequence. "Than" refers to a comparison.

Most of the dialogue is good.

This sentence doesn't make sense: "One of them had dragged the body of their foreman and thrown him on top of the altar before they had started in on the lectrum until something had seemed to stop them."

It's all very exciting. I enjoyed it and would like to have read the first 39 chapters.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and for your suggestions.
Erin Winter

10 Years Ago

This queen would absolutely talk like that.

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2 Reviews
Added on February 5, 2014
Last Updated on April 21, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Fantasy, Adventure, undead, God, good versus evil, knights, paladins, magic, swords and sorcery

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