Ducal Shoes

Ducal Shoes

A Chapter by Eddie Davis

As Aurei recovers from her breakdown, her friends deal with ducal problems, including bandits from the south.



Ducal Shoes


“Marauders?   From where?”  Eleazar asked as he sat at a table in the sitting room next to the bedroom where Aurei slept.  

The messenger, dust covered and weary gestured toward the south, “From the badlands to the west of Orc Pass, m’Lord.   They are thick in those hills and from time to time they come forth to raid larger caravans or wealthy travelers.   The Orcs don’t like them encroaching upon their territory, so they don’t stay long, but the bandits are enough in numbers to keep the Orcs from going against them.”


“So these Marauders were pressed out by the Imperial Legions when they marched north to attack Northmarch?”

“That is what we believe, m’Lord.   They were about 300 in number when they first appeared.   They attacked Fulton Springs two days ago.”

“How large is Fulton Springs?”

“It is - or was- a small village of about 100, m’Lord.   Peaceful farmers mostly.   The village is about 70 miles northwest of the badlands.   They rode in by night and ransacked the town.   Killed, raped and burned everything they didn’t plunder.   A few escaped through the fields and lived to tell the tale.”

“How were they armed?”

“Lightly, m’Lord.   They’re horsemen, so mostly bows and swords.   They wear lightweight armor.”

“If they were displaced by the legions, did they take their women and children with them?”

“Yes, m’Lord, they rode with them and participated in the same atrocities.   They burned the town to the ground and even the fields were put to the torch.”

“What direction did they go next?”   Eleazar asked, growing more and more concerned and already planning an expedition against them.

“They rode due west toward Muddleford and attacked it the following evening.   The villagers were more prepared and put up a spirited defense, but they destroyed most of the town here too.   About 200 of our archers reached Muddleford late in the attack and their arrival drew them away.   We counted 22 of the vandals dead.”

“They rode back east and then circled to the north and around Muddleford.   We knew they wouldn’t ride to Dullerm as the rest of the archers not with Duke and Duchess Frampbrum were still guarding the city.   Besides, the city was far too large for them to attack.”


“So where did they go, then?”

“They turned northwest and attacked Shief last night.   Our archers had foreseen this and we had about 500 around the town, which is all that remained except for perhaps 100 remaining in Dullerm.   They were concealed and we thought we’d rout them easily, m’Lord.” 

“They attacked, as usual, at sunset, but it was only a small force of perhaps 50 men.   They played cat and mouse with us for perhaps an hour and then withdrew.   We didn’t know if this was an advanced scout patrol, so we held our position, but by the middle of the night our own scouts reported that the greater force had detoured around Shief and were heading northwest toward Westmark.   I was dispatched to come warn the Duchess and to also report to her.”   

“We received messengers from the King that our Duke and Duchess as well as their sons and grandsons had been killed.   The King’s message told us that Duchess Bugley and Earl Coldburn would be our new Lords, through their stewards.”


Eleazar nodded, “That’s correct; you acted correctly.   Did you encounter the marauders on your journey here?”

“No, m’Lord, because I circled around them and rode hard.   There should be about 200 of them and as they rode all through the night and much of today, I would be surprised to find them attacking Kendill’s Rest tonight, m’Lord.”


“I hope you are right; but they may think your archers are pursuing them and if that is the case, they may press an attack for supplies, and then continue on north rather then waiting for the alarm to be sounded in Westmark.”

“Earl Coldburn, what do you wish me to do?”

“Rest; you have ridden hard to warn us, and we are in your debt.   Go below and have something to eat.   I will have the guards prepare a bunk for you.”

“M’Lord, I could ride with your men if you need me.”

“That is very noble of you, I thank you for your offer, but I should have enough.   Take your rest, for you have done well.”

“Thank you, m’Lord.”  The Messenger bowed to him and turned and left the chamber.

Eleazar stood up and scratched his head as he pondered his alternatives.   But only for a moment before going to the door to the stairwell and calling for the guards.





An hour later, 14 armored knights thundered out of Westmark, led by the Earl of Coldburn.  From a window in the ducal keep, Zeatt watched them go with nervousness, for she wished she could ride with them.  

“Zeatt?”   A voice came from the stairs.   It was Eioldth, a bit winded from the walk up the stairs.

“Your Majesty, how are you?”

“A bit out of breath at the moment,” She smiled, her hands on her belly, “I see that Eleazar, Alvis, Aeric and Alis are off.”

“Yes, they just rode through the gate.   I tried to convince the newlyweds to stay here.   They would have none of it.   They have not even consummated their marriage yet.”

“They told you that?”  The Queen asked with a laugh, amazed.

“I asked them --- Consummation is the actual completion of the rite of marriage in the church and it worries me that they have had to wait so long.”


“It is to all be part of the same day, part of the ceremony.   It is supposed to be a conclusion of the joy of the wedding ceremony and the wedding feast.”

“I’m sure they will get around to it as soon as things settle down.”

“I just hope none of them are injured or killed in this action against the bandits.”

Eioldth frowned, “Yes, it has been rather eventful the past week, hasn’t it?”

“Yes, and I’m concerned about the effects of this stress on your pregnancy as well as Siris and her unborn baby.”

“Do not worry about me, Zeatt, my child and I are fine.”

“You need rest, Your Majesty, and there seems to be no rest to be found here.”

“It is a pleasant place to stay; I greatly enjoy this city, Zeatt.   I think just the atmosphere will revitalize me.   I came to ask you something.”


“Well, with Aurei resting and Alis gone with the Knights, there seems to be a shortage of barmaids at the Muddy Boot.”

“There is Brandi, Krys and even Rori.”


“Yes, but Brandi and Krys are filling in for the cooks, who went to King’s Reach to check on family members after the battle.   That would leave Rori and as the Inn has been closed due to the murders; they expect it to be extremely crowded tonight.”

“I see.   So what does that have to do with me?”

Eioldth smiled brightly, “How would you like to join Siris and me as a substitute tavern wench?”


The Drow Matron just looked at her as if the Queen had lost her mind.   She waited for her to laugh and tell her that she jested, but the Queen just looked at her expectedly.

“You’re serious?”

“Oh yes!   I thought it might be fun!”

“Fun?   To wait on tables?   Your Majesty, you are the Queen!”

“Well hopefully the patrons won’t get handsy with me.”

Zeatt shook her head in disbelief, “But you’re pregnant… and Siris is even further along than you are!”

Eioldth shrugged, with a girlish look in her eyes, “Well, we probably won’t get very large tips…”

Zeatt could not help but laugh at the craziness of the idea.

“You really mean to do this?”

“Zeatt, you just told me that I need to rest and I am not the type to just sit quietly.   I enjoy moving around and being among people.   Believe it or not, this will be very relaxing to me.  I haven’t done something as mundane as this in many years and it really intrigues me.   Siris has apparently filled in a few times at the Muddy Boot over the years, so she readily agreed.”


Zeatt just shook her head again, “It is going to be an absolutely unbelievable evening at the inn; a pregnant Orc, a Drow High Cleric of Yesh, and the pregnant Elven Queen, waiting tables.   When the merchants tell this tale at their next stop, nobody will believe them.”


“So you will do it then?”  The Queen asked.

“What will we wear?”   Zeatt pondered, but the Queen had all the details covered, and soon both Elven ladies were preparing for their new job.



© 2014 Eddie Davis

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Added on February 10, 2014
Last Updated on April 23, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, bandits, murder, crime, Sword and Sorcery, Knights, Paladins

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 3: Bane of the Necromancers


Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO

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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