5.

5.

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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Luke and Kyara set out on their mission, while Sheriff Denrich and Princess Avalynn board the arcane train.

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5.

 

Precisely five minutes later, Avalynn was finally able to see the ‘arcane train’ that she had heard so much talk about for years.  

It was a sight she couldn’t forget; long rectangular boxes that looked slightly like merchant caravan wagons, except longer, wider and with a solid roof and glass windows.   Instead of wagon wheels the train cars had small metal discs that ran on the enchanted metal rails which propelled the train.    The Princess didn’t count how many cars were in the train, but she had heard that usually there were about twenty latched together.

The front-most car had a large glass front so the train’s wizard, who called himself a conductor, could survey the track ahead and apply the neutralizing brake to slow or stop the momentum of the arcane train when necessary.

It was an amazing feat of Practical Magic and Avalynn forgot all her problems for a few moments as she watched in amazement as it slowed down and then stopped in front of the station.

“Magnificent!”   Avalynn said aloud, eager to board the train and experience travelling in luxurious ease.    Without glancing at him, she called out to Sheriff Denrich as she hurried toward the nearest boarding platform, “I thank you for your time and conversation, Sheriff; I will have no further need for you.   Kindly have my baggage placed on the train and you are dismissed.”

Denrich laughed at her aloofness, but didn’t argue the point, for he knew she’d be offended no matter what he said.   He knew what his orders were, and whether she liked it or not, he was going to accompany her to Caelyin and make certain that she went with the royal delegation that was to meet them.    Then he would be through with the arrogant, haughty girl and could return on the next train to deal with more mundane (and more pleasant) folk.

 

 

***

 

“Luke!   Luke, wake up, it’s very late, but wait until you see what I’ve got!”   Princess Kyara dropped something heavy onto the bed and from the sound it made, it was armor bundled within heavy cloaks.

Luke Penrook came out of a deep sleep gradually, his body aching and mind full of cobwebs.

Slowly it all came back to him and he sat up, blinking away sleep.    He was surprised to find that it was mid-morning, for he has expected Kyara would want to leave before the sun had risen.

Glancing up at her, he was also surprised to find that she was adorned in a heavy suit of half-plate armor that adequately concealed both her race and gender.

“Where did you find that?” He asked, painfully sitting up so he could open the bundle that she had thrown down on the bed.

“We got very lucky,”  Kyara replied, pulling off her helmet now that he had seen it, “There was an armor merchant staying the night here before meeting up with the arcane train at Eastwatch.   He had been trading swords for chainmail rivets and steel link coils with the Highland clans to the north.”

“Isn’t that illegal by decree of Reddric?”

“Yes, but this man saw a way to get armor material for trade, so he trades with them.    He was more than happy to sell me two suits of half-plate for extremely cheap, since I assured him that I would not inform the High King of his illegal activities.”

Luke snorted, “Apparently he doesn’t know the situation between Baylcothrom and the High King.”

Kyara shrugged, “He’ll learn soon enough; if Reddric overruns Baylcothrom, then that merchant will have a much harder time sneaking back and forth to visit the Highland clans.”

Luke looked at the armor she had selected for him.   It seemed to be the right size and was typical of the mass-produced armor worn by heavy infantry troops of wealthier Lords.     It was no-nonsense cold steel, without adornment and unpainted; strong, heavy and purely functional.  The outfit consisted of a full breast and back plate, full front and back plates for the shoulders, upper arms and elbows, and metal gauntlets covering the lower arms and hands.    Cuisses with tassets protected the front of the legs down to the knees with chainmail protecting the back side.   From just below the knees down there was no metal armor, but tall heavy leather boots to be worn.    It was typical heavy infantry armor, yet would be reasonably comfortable while riding.

“He didn’t include helmets, so I found two from the armory; hopefully our design won’t identify where we are from.”

Luke nodded, “You did well, princess; except for the better craftsmanship; Baylcothrom helmets are similar to some styles the humans wear.   We should pass for militia sent to give service to the High King.”

“Try yours on and let’s get going.   I have two horses ready and the saddlebags are full of provisions.    I figured that letting you sleep a few extra hours would be better than getting an earlier start.”

She smiled sweetly, the first hint of gentleness that he had seen from her since returning.

“I appreciate it, Your Majesty.   With my wounds, the ride is going to be a huge challenge for me, but I will endure.    If I may ask you to leave, I will immediately get ready.”

Kyara nodded, “I didn’t know if you had a sword - or if you found any remaining in your father’s manor- so I brought you one from my father’s collection.   It is hanging on the saddle.   If you don’t like it…”

“I’m sure it will be fine, Your Majesty.   Thank you for your kindness.   I won’t take too long.”

She nodded again and hurried out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

 

***

He was relieved to find that everything fit very well and included a lightweight and well thought-out gambeson.    He added padding to cushion his injuries for the long jolting ride in the saddle.    He knew it wouldn’t be enough for many hours of hard riding and doubted it was enough for even a short trip on the horse, but he intended to endure for as long as he could.

Changing his bandages first, he had soon donned the armor, not comfortable with all the padding, but determined to complete his duty.

Kyara had grown restless waiting for him and was in the courtyard tending to their horses.    

Master Shayne stood there talking to her, frowning and holding the reins to his own horse.

 Though they spoke softly, Luke heard the last part of their conversation.

“I should travel with the two of you.  You’ll need all the help you can get, Princess.”

“I need your assistance far worse in fooling any of Reddric’s spies into believing that I am fleeing north to the Highlands with the others.”

“I don’t know if I can fool them - they may already know of your plans, Princess.”

“It’s a chance we have to take.   Now if only Luke can keep up.”

Master Shayne had seen Luke’s approach and cleared his throat with a subtle nod to Kyara to indicate his presence.

Kyara spun around, her face flushed in embarrassment. 

“I guess I’m ready, Your Highness,”  He said somewhat soberly.

“It looks like the armor I selected for you is a good fit,” the Princess commented, trying to move away from her earlier comment.

“Yes, it will suffice,”  Luke replied, though already he was feeling discomfort from his half-healed wounds.

“Will you be able to ride?”  Master Shayne asked, scrutinizing him.

“Yes, I will manage,” He replied, not looking at the man so he wouldn’t betray his doubts.

“You should be in bed, recovering,” Shayne murmured, frowning at Kyara as if silently reprimanding her for persuading Luke to escort her.

“We’ll make frequent stops to rest,”  She answered the human.

“He may require more than just that, Princess,”   Shayne retorted. 

“I’ll be alright, Master Shayne; thank you for your concern for me,”  Luke said to the older man with a slight smile.

“You would know best, Lord,”   Shayne bowed, then turned back to Kyara, “Princess, it is already far late into the day, are you sure-“

“Yes,”  She cut him off, knowing what he was going to ask, “We are leaving right now.    Luke?   Are you ready to leave?”

Luke Penrook nodded and without further comment went to his horse.    He paused for a moment, then with a quick, somewhat stiff movement, mounted the horse, clenching his teeth to conceal the intense pain that the action caused him.   For a long moment he thought that the pain was going to make him faint,  but he just held onto the saddle horn and focused on breathing until the feeling stopped.  

He opened his eyes to find Shayne and Kyara (who had mounted her horse) staring at him in concern.

“I’m ready, Princess, let’s ride.”

“Luke, are you sure you-“

“Yes, yes, I’m alright!”  He snapped back, “Are we going or not?”

“Alright,” Kyara nodded at Shayne, “May Yesh guard you, Master Shayne.”

“And may he carry you in his hand, Princess.   I will lift you both up in prayer.    God’s speed be with you.”

“Lead on, Sir Knight,”  The Princess said to Luke with a bow, so after a frown at her use of the title and a slight sigh, Luke put his horse into motion.

 

***

 

Sheriff Denrich was amazed at how quickly the elven princess could disappear when the train arrived.    He had personally carried her luggage aboard the arcane train and the train steward directed him to her room, but she was not there.    He didn’t fancy tracking her down anyway, so he just put his few items in his neighboring cabin and went to the observation car that had large glass windows and plenty of seats so passengers could enjoy the passing scenery when the train was underway.

They had an hour and a half delay; mainly so word could be sent to anyone who had bought tickets for this trip that was waiting closer to the scheduled time of its arrival to come to the station.

He asked the Conducting wizard (a friendly, elderly man who enjoyed talking) why the train had arrived so early.

“Well, Sheriff, we had orders from His Majesty, King Reddric to bypass three of our regular stops.”

“Why?”

“He wanted us to reach Mumsport by tomorrow morning.”

“For what reason?”

The old man grinned broadly, “Why, haven’t you heard?   Lady Xael has come to Albyia!”

“Lady Xael?   Really?   I thought it was just silly rumors.   You say she is actually here?”

“She landed in Mumsport yesterday - the High King received word by scrying ball and so he decided to get the train to her as soon as possible and have her escorted to Caelyin with style.”

“So why’d you stop here instead of skipping this station as well?”

“He said that it was possible that the two Nymph daughters of the elven king would be waiting to ride, and he wanted to see them as well, so he ordered us to stop just in case.    It is a good thing that we did!   Goodness, she is lovely, Sheriff!   She’ll probably give Lady Xael some competition, I’d imagine.    Too bad that her sister didn’t come along.    King Reddric will not be pleased at that at all.   But I’ll bet having Lady Xael and the Nymph princess will keep his spirits up, wouldn’t you say?”

Denrich shrugged,  “I wouldn’t know, sir.”

“Oh, he loves beautiful women, Sheriff!   Have you ever seen the ladies of the court?   Most gorgeous women in the world!”

“So I’ve been told,”  Denrich replied, unexcited, “So where exactly did Princess Avalynn disappear to, anyway?   I’m supposed to keep track of her and she wasn’t in her cabin or the dining car.”

The old wizard grinned wider, “Why she was in the smoking car the last time I saw her!    Smoking with the wizards and merchants; she was the only woman there and I can tell you that they certainly didn’t mind her presence!   She has that habit down!    She was proudly puffing away just like she was in the ladies court in the palace.    She’ll fit in fine there, sir!”

Denrich sneered slightly, “I’m sure she will, Mage Litpra.   I probably should go check on her - I don’t want her slipping off the train before we leave the station.”

“Sheriff, I don’t think you have anything to worry about - she seems very anxious and excited about going to the High King’s court.   She won’t jump ship on you.   Sit back and relax; I’ve got to get back to the conduction platform; we’ll be leaving in ten minutes.   Nice talking to you, Sheriff!   Enjoy the ride!”

Denrich nodded and the old wizard hurried up the aisle toward the front of the train.

Exactly ten minutes later they were underway and the scenery began passing by at a steady rate.   For a few minutes he just glanced out the window, but he wanted to make sure Avalynn hadn’t fooled everyone and had slipped away, so he headed back four cars to the ‘smoking car’, holding his breath as he opened the door, which released a cloud of tobacco smoke from a multitude of pipes and a few cigars from travelling merchants. 

In the middle of the car, surrounded by three merchants and a bug eyed wizard’s apprentice, sat the princess, basking happily in all the male attention.    She talked and flirted with them as she smoked the trendy Darx cigarettes that the ladies of the royal court all favored so much.

She glanced up as he looked into the car, then with her nose in the air, turned her attention back to her admirers.  

Foolish, spoiled little idiot, he thought as he closed the door and headed back to his cabin, Such a waste of my time to escort her to Reddric when she is so eager to go.    I can’t wait to get this whole miserable assignment over with as soon as possible!

He slid into his small cabin, locked the door and sat on the window seat, going over important concerns waiting for him back at St. Wemricshire, as the train steadily wound southward.



© 2018 Eddie Davis


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Added on July 5, 2018
Last Updated on July 7, 2018
Tags: Albyia, Synomenia, fantasy, elf, magic


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


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A Chapter by Eddie Davis