Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Michael Raymond Robinson
"

Fleeing east, seeking to go north, Alexis finds a new partner. Several years later, she strikes a deal that will allow her to proceed with her task.

"

 

Chapter one

Her leg tickled, which woke her from a sound sleep.  Her ice blue eyes focused on the rat that was crawling up her leg.  Reaching slowly, she found her short walking stick.  The rodent did not react, oblivious to its pending fate.  Once her hand found the wooden staff, she quickly swung it.  The make shift weapon struck the little creature on the head, sending it off her leg and slamming in the bulk head of the ship she currently was stowed away on.

Breathing a sigh of relief that the rat did not manage to gnaw away her leg, she slowly stood.  The ship was rocking, subtly now, she heard the men above cry out as they were preparing to dock at the harbor of the large city of Callington.  It took several days to get here from Lauren’s Dowry, the city she had lived in for the past four years.  She was not going to miss it, she had to go north.  She did hate to leave her four year old sister Alegra however.  The child cried as her ten year old sister told her good-bye the night she fled from her foster home.

After that dreadful day four years ago, a soldier took them in.  He took them with him to Rhiwenna's Well, and then put them on a supply wagon to Lauren’s Dowry.  He traveled with them and when they arrived he put them in the care of his sister.  She was a nice woman, but demanding.  She told them both her story, but they laughed saying “oh the imagination of a child, so traumatized.”  She did not know what that meant at the time, but now she did.

They nearly had her convinced it was all a dream, but she heard the soldier tell his sister one night about the scene.  No one could explain how the Gruager were slain.  They were all burnt to a crisp.  She could still smell the foul stench of their burning skin in her memory.  She could still hear the screams of her mother as she died, giving her time to flee.   But most of all, she could still see the face of the phantom that saved her.  She could still remember his voice in her head.

Reaching up to her chest she grabbed the metal shard she still wore around her next, clenching tightly she remembered his words.  Find the falls he said.  And so she will.  She listened to stories, snuck around the docks, hearing of traders going north, from the city of Callington to the village of Brattvann, up the Migtour River, a small village that sat atop a large waterfall.  She was unsure that this was where she needed to go, but she had to try.

Being ten had its advantages, she was small and could go unnoticed by the adults, and those that found her took pity, offering food.  She grinned, using this to her advantage, allowing her to make her way to the docks, getting enough food to last her on the trip.  Opening her pack, she now realized she was empty.  She did not handle her rations very well and her stomach growled letting her now too well her mistake.  The small of fresh bread made the growling worse, as it drifted through the hold of the ship from the galley.  Needing to eat and finding fresh water, she decided to leave the little hideaway hole that she had found.  She nervously crawled out of her sanctuary.  She never ventured out during the day, she always explored at night when most of the crew was sound asleep.  However, hoping that all hands were busy topside securing the ship, she prayed she would make it to the galley unnoticed.

Grabbing her pack and securing her small staff, she crept through the cargo bay around the crates, keeping low and in the shadows.  Slowly and as quietly as she could she made her way aft"she heard the sailors call the rear of the ship that.  Just as she neared the galley door, it opened and standing before her was a large bearded man, he looked as shocked as she must have.  Freezing instantly, she tightened the grip on her staff.

“Hey little one, stowin’ away"“

Before he could finish, as hard as she could she brought the staff up, putting right between his legs and into his privates.  His eyes bulged as he stepped back, gasping.  She did not wait to see any further reaction from him.  Turning, she ran toward the ladder that would take her to the topside.  Reaching the ladder, she climbed quickly with one hand, holding her weapon in the other.

Crawling out onto the deck another sailor spied her and began moving her direction as she heard the man below call out “stowaway!”  Without any rational thought, she ran straight for him as he was sauntering toward her.  Just before they met, she dropped to the wet deck, sliding at him.  As she passed between his legs, she flipped the staff sideways, clipping him at the shins.  He tumbled over her, landing face first on the deck behind her.  Standing, she now realized she had the attention of everyone on deck, some laughing, and some moving toward her.

Pausing only for a moment, young Alexis looked around, finding an exit.  On the other side of the ship, sailors were lowering plank to the docks.  They were not finished with the task when she reached that side of the ship in a full sprint, and those lowering the egress of the ship seemed shocked to see her jump up and dart down the wooden beam.  Without hesitation, only a little fear, but adventure fueled her blood now, she leapt off the end of the plank, some twenty feet yet in the air.  She noticed her legs still thought they were running on solid ground as she sprung into the air.  She braced herself of impact, balling up for a roll as she landed on a pallet loaded with grain and what must have been flour, for a white cloud spewed up around her as she landed hard.  Pain shot through her, but she rolled off the cargo, landing on her feet and sprinted down the docks toward the city.  She heard a heavy thud behind her, one of the sailors must have followed her escape.  Turning, but still moving away from the ship, she watched him bounce off the pallet and tumble, arms flailing into the water with a splash.  She giggled loudly at the site and victory, spinning around to get further away as the plank hit the dock and more sailors began descending.

She only took a step in the other direction though, just to run into what looked like a soldier.  He grinned, grabbing at her.  She ducked, spun around him, still giggling.  Her staff struck him in the back of the knee, not hard enough to knock him down, but enough for him to loosen his grip.  Taking off again, she heard her shirt rip, leaving a piece of it in his grasping hand.

She dodged through dock workers, most obviously did not what was occurring, leaving her be as she weaved to and fro.  She could hear the sailors and guards call to people as she ran past them, begging, ordering them to stop her.  Alexis had no idea where she was going, or where she could hide.  Her only hope was to out run them or get lost in the crowd.  But a wrong turn changed that.

Getting lost in the crowd was quickly not an option the alley was empty and lead to a dead end.  She ran a few steps in and stopped.  She was about to turn around when some one grabbed her and forced her to the ground.  Before she could see who it was, they were pushing her through a small opened window near the street.

“Get in,” a young voice said, pushing in head first.

She slid through, fell atop some boxes then rolled to the floor.  She dodged her staff as it came through next bouncing on the floor next to her.  Alexis swiped it up, feeling helpless without it.  With it secure in her grasp she scurried back, leaning against the wall out of the windows view when the young boy jumped down off the crates after he quietly closed the window.

He was about her age, or so she guessed.  His hair was a brownish-blonde, long, dirty and tangled.  His hazel eyes smiled at her then focused on her knee.  Kneeling down next to her, he tore his already tattered shirt.  How gallant she thought.

“You’re hurt,” he whispered.

“It’s nothing,” she lied, it was throbbing like hell.  She did not take the time to notice it during her flight.

He wrapped the make shift bandage around it, pulling it tight, but not too much.  She winced slightly, but gave the illusion that it she was strong.  “Any where else?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” she returned.  Looking around the dark warehouse she now getting nervous, but yet grateful and she was glad she was not alone.  “Who are you?”

“Randal,” he said standing.  “Randal Corte,” he held out his hand.

“Alexis,” taking his hand, she slid up the wall.  “Alexis Dylirhi.”

“Just come in from the ship?”

“Yes, came from Lauren’s Dowry.”

“Long way from home.”

“I don’t have a home,” she said sternly.

“Well, neither does me, well, not one that most kids think of anyway.”

“Where do you live?”

“Come,” he grabbed her hand again.  “Let me show you were we live.”

“We?”

“Yes, more like you and me,” he paused with a smile and wink, “orphans.”

* * *

It was the year 1019, six long years after Alexis arrived at Callington and she was still there.  The road north was a dangerous one.  With the war between Betten and Queoth escalating, soldiers, raiders, and others dangerous folk roamed that river pass north into the mountains.  Though Alexis at times considered herself to be dangerous, she had learned quite a bit over the past six years.  She grown damned efficient with a sword, casting that old wooden staff away three years ago, though her blade was old and rather battered looking.  But she could not complain it was free.

She learned a lot about the world also in those hard years.  Callington was a key port, currently under control of Betten, a realm whose capital Bettenburgh was on the other side of the Melefunt Mountains, far to the north.  Queoth controlled the south, east, and west sides of Emerald Lake, the very lake Callington sat on.  Recently, Prince Edwin Kelmunt had taken Lauren’s Dowry to the west and Rhiwenna's Well in the northwest, from Betten and now currently had Callington under siege.

It was a war started just over one hundred years ago, when Betten assassinated the Queen of Queoth, for some unknown reason. They denied it at first, but the new queen at that time refused to believe that they were not responsible for her mother’s death and proceeded to go to war.  It has dragged on ever since, no one winning until recently with the military under the young Prince Kelmunt.  Who now stood a mere twenty feet from her; she was hiding with Randal in the tree line outside the city, next to the command tent.

She also learned about Lord Edgar Melefunt.  A courageous knight that took a group into the mountains"now called The Melefunt Mountains"four hundred years ago, one of those was Claude Van Betten, the founder of Betten.  He never returned from those mountains, rumors say he was slain by giants, or so the story goes from the books, as told by Claude, who climbed out of the mountains on the northern side, rich with gems and silver.  Somehow she doubted the validity of that tale.  Normally, most would not question it, as it was told by the original king of Betten, but she now knew that it was indeed the spirit of Edgar Melefunt that rescued her all those years ago.  Why, she did not know.  What the curse was, she did not find out.  It was a closely guarded secret, and when she asked any of the elfish folk that lived in Callington, they only hushed her and told her to mind human business.

Again she grabbed the shard that dangled around her neck.  Somehow this tied into the entire mystery, she knew that.  Which to her, so did she or her family at one time.  A family she knew nothing about.  There were no longer answers here, she needed to get north, to Brattvann.  Find the falls and begin her search for the ‘path’.  Whatever that was?  And now, she saw her opportunity.  She and Randal over heard the plans of the Prince and generals.  Take Callington from Betten and Brattvann, which was a key strategic location and supposedly rich in iron, buried in deep mines, and would easily fall under Queoth’s control.  Those were the plans and Callington was a road block.

She held no loyalty to Callington or the country to which it belonged.  She did hold sympathy for the Saivyn elfish community, though most were haughty and utterly despised humans and their cousin’s the Rymyth Elves, they did lose their lands in a brutal war five hundred years ago.   Since then most however used their skills and keen business sense to flourish and to rise to power within the human society unlike the Rymyth, who are more aloof and adventurous.  However, the Betten government still treated the uneducated, less skilled elves like dirt, as they did the orphans.  Captured, taken off the streets, if you were nobody, then you became a soldier.

Getting her thoughts back on track, it was her goal to help get Prince Kelmunt into the city.  Randal was with her, he too was the adventurous type, but was unaware of her actual plan.  He may not approve, or understand.  He knew of her desires, he knew of the story of Melefunt.  She told him how he saved her ten years ago, though she gathered he did not really believe her.  She hated hiding the truth from him, for she knew he loved her, and as she thought about it, she loved him.  But they were young, they had a long life a head of them, or so she hoped.

He talked of settling down, out of the city in the foothills, eventually.  Right now, he was too much the hero and protectorate of the younger orphans within the city.  If things were different, maybe she would be willing to settle, but her soul was driven, urging her north, to seek and find answers.  It would hurt him, she knew it, and she too would hurt, but she left loved ones before and knew she could survive it.

“So what now?” he asked.

Looking at him, she fought the urge to cry.  ‘Come on Alexis,’ she thought, ‘you’re stronger than this!’

He stared at her, smiling with an inquisitive look.  He was handsome and definitely not the same dirty little boy she met the day she arrived.  His hair was still about shoulder length, but he kept it well groomed, well as neat as he could.  He had an average frame, Randal was not built massively, bulging with muscle, but instead he was lean, quick, but yet strong at the same time.

She knew he hated the city; he loved adventuring outside its walls.  They knew every area within miles of Callington.  Honestly, he was always much better at finding their way around in the woods than she, and he could track a deer down easily.  They hunted these woods, to feed the orphans.  They skirted the dangers, tracked the bandits, and on occasion stole a few silvers from them well the thieves slept in the deepest parts of the woods.

“Well,” he placed is hand on her shoulder.

“We go in,” she whispered.

“Are you crazy?  They’ll take us prisoner!  We are basically the enemy you know”

“No, I’m not Randal, maybe they can make the city a better place.  Did you ever wonder that?”

“I know we’ve talked about"“

“What do we have here, spies?” came a voice from beside the tent.

They both stood, Alexis kept her hand away from her blade as the guard held a crossbow pointed at them.  She felt a little scared, but relief at the same time.  Now she did not have to try to talk Randal into going in, this guard would do it for them, or so she hoped.  Alexis did not know his intentions; he could kill them on sight as spies, throw them into a cell, or run them off.

“Come!” he demanded, waving the crossbow quickly beside him, pointing to the tent.

Putting her hands up, Randal did likewise, she moved closer to him, in the direction he pointed.  Step one accomplished she thought as he again pointed to the open flap on the commander’s tent.  As they entered the guard shoved them hard with the crossbow, causing them to stumble.

Alexis turned quickly, glaring at him.  “Hey,” she scowled, “there’s no need for that!”

Before he responded she spun around again to face the tent as Randal mutter her name under his breath.  Standing tall, she realized that the tent had gone silent and its occupants were all staring at her.  Scanning the room, Alexis knew she was in the presence of the Prince.  He was looking at her with a confused, yet questioning gaze.  Looking at him, she realized he was not that old, late twenties maybe.  She thought him to be older.  Beside him was a woman that could have been his twin, but seemed a bit older, his sister she assumed.  She has heard of Patricia Kelmunt before, most have.  Her tactics were intelligent and crafty.

On the Prince’s left side stood a middle aged man, she assumed him to be a general of some sort, and beside him was a younger woman, late twenties she presumed.  She lowered her head with a smile and ribbed Randal to do the same.

“Spies my lord,” said the guard that captured them.

“Children,” said the younger woman.

Alexis raised her head in anger, “I beg to differ!’

Patricia laughed, looking at her brother.  “I think I like her,” Alexis heard her whisper not so silently.

“Yes,” he replied.  “She’s bold, got some spunk to her,” he chuckled.

“We are not spies,” she spoke, noticing her voice quivering slightly; she only hoped no one here noticed.

“Then what are you then,” Patricia said, moving closer.

“Nobody,” Randal said, his voice wavering slightly also.  She ribbed him again, he looking at her he said loudly, “Stop that!”

Patricia laughed as she stepped in front of Alexis, only about a foot from her.  She looked up and down her inquisitively, as if examining every inch of her.  “Then what are you?”

“I,” Alexis started, then paused a mere moment, “we, are here to help.”

“What?” Randal said looking at her.

“Yes what indeed,” the Prince spoke, moving around the table that held a map of the city.  “Or the actual question being how?”

“We got out,” Alexis said, “unnoticed didn’t we?  It’s something we do all the time. We get past Betten’s soldiers, and we got past yours.”

Laughing again, Patricia turned to Prince Edwin, “Yes, I do like her.”

“I agree,” he answered.

“Tell us how you did it,” the older man said.

“First,” Alexis started.  Thinking to herself, ‘here goes nothing’.  “You agree to help me, and then we’ll show you how.”

The guard poked her again, harder this time, in the back.  “Just answer the question little girl!”

Turning quickly, making sure the crossbow was pointing safely away from her, she swiftly raised her hand and slapped the bossy soldier across the face.  As her hand landed she said, “Listen, stop that, I had enough of it.  And don’t call me little girl!’

The guard quickly angered, bringing the bow to bear at her midsection.  Randal spun, yanking the man’s arm up.  The two wrestle only for a minute before the Prince yelled.

“Stop!” he cried out.  “Young lady, what is it you want?”

Calming down and facing him, she regained her composure.  Alexis took a deep breath before she finally spoke, looking at Randal.  His gaze was confusion; he surely did not know what she wanted.  Stepping away from the guard, who backed further away from her, she placed her hands on the table.

“Take me to Brattvann,” she said.

Randal stepped up next to her, placing a hand on her shoulder.  “Take us,” he added.

“What do you know of that,” the younger woman asked.

Alexis huffed out loud, and then grinned at them all.  “You have had Callington under siege for a fortnight, what makes you think this was the first time we’ve sat by this tent and listened?”

The Prince walked up to her and grabbed her hands with a smile.  “You are very brave, young lady, somewhat foolish, but brave.  Strong and smart too.  What is your name?” he asked.

“Alexis Dylirhi and this is my friend Randal Corte,” she said nodding sidewise toward Randal.

“I take it neither of you have any parents.”

“No sir,” Randal spoke first.

“No family to speak of then?” he questioned.

“Well Alexis has a sis"“

He stopped when Alexis kicked him in the shin while glaring at him.  The prince did not need to know too much, nor did he need to know her complete history.  Also, Alexis did not want Randal to go on rambling about Melefunt and the ‘Path’.

“Okay, touchy subject there,” the Prince said.  “Then, why is it you want to go to Brattvann?”

“It’s a personal matter,” she answered.  “The road north is dangerous, far too dangerous for me or us to go it alone.”

“Very true, and again, very smart,” he said turning to his sister.  “I think we can help each other, don’t you agree Patty?”

“Yes I do Ed,” his sister agreed.

“Allow me to introduce us here,” Edwin looked back at Alexis.  “I am Prince Edwin Kelmunt.”

“Yes,” Alexis said with a sarcastic tone, “I know that.”

“You will address the"“

Edwin hushed the guard by raising his hand, “You may leave us now.”

“Yes my lord,” the soldier spoke and quickly retreated from the tent.

“Now, this is my sister Patricia, our tactician.  Behind the table is General Nicholas Scott, commander of this Regiment.”

The general nodded to them both as Prince Edwin pointed toward him.  “It’s a pleasure, and maybe a fruitful meeting,” he said.

            “And this is,” pointing to the younger woman, “Captain Blanche Yonge, commander of our special forces platoon.”

“And I would be very interested in hearing both your secrets,” Captain Yonge said with an eager smile.

Alexis nodded, then looking back at the Prince she said, “We have a deal?”

Patricia gently pushed her brother back and stepped in front of Alexis. She reached up and touched her pendent that she wore with a smile.  “Nice necklace,” she said as she removed her hand.

Alexis reached up and secured it with her hand, “Yes, a family heirloom.”

“I see,” Patricia grinned.  “Yes Alexis Dylirhi, we have a deal.  You help us take Callington and in a week, when we are ready, you and Randal will move north to Brattvann with Captain Yonge’s platoon.”

“Wait,” Yonge interjected, “why my platoon I don’t"“

Patricia moved around the table with grace and speed that Alexis has never seen before, in an instant she was whispering in Yonge’s ear.  Alexis strained, but she could not hear a word.

“But they have"“

Again Patricia whispered into her ear, pointing at both Randal and her, more so her.  Alexis stared at the two as Yonge glared back at her in defiance.  Whatever Patricia was telling her, Yonge did not agree with, but being royalty, the young captain obviously had no choice.  Finally Yonge said, “Yes Lady Kelmunt, it will be so.”

Patricia stepped away from Yonge and moved back to the table.  “Good, the arrangements are all set.  You tell us now, how to get in.”

Alexis moved around to the table, looking at the map.  Getting herself familiar with the drawing and layout she placed her hand on the river that split Callington down its middle, than drew her finger northward a few inches.  Seeing the correct spot she moved her hand eastward just a bit.

“Here,” she said, tapping the map.  “When Callington was first constructed and walled over four hundred years ago it was used to hold elfin prisoners right after the war, to be used as slaves in the south.  The more prominent elves, those who humbled themselves so to speak to the humans created a way to help free these less fortunate.  A serious of tunnels and catacombs were created beneath the city, which also included an exit.”

“Interesting,” Yonge said moving around the table.  “Do the Betten troops know of these?”

“The city had them sealed up over a hundred years ago,” Randal added.  “They are long forgotten and not patrolled.”

“How did you two find them?” Yonge asked.

Randal laughed, “They are our home.”

“Your home,” Patricia questioned.

“Yes,” Randal replied.  “About fifty years ago, Betten began cracking down on the orphan population, which was growing due to the war, famine, and disease.  Betten soldiers would gather these kids up, place them in falling down rat infested barracks, beat them, starve them, and then when they were old enough send them to the war.

Well a bunch of them took up refuge in the old library.  One day, an elfin librarian caught them sneaking into the basement.  She took pity on them.  Remembering reading and studying old maps, she showed them were the old entrances were.  They unsealed a few, and then cleverly concealed them.  The librarian then gave them all the maps and documents she could find in the library and other places within the city, leaving little to no written traces, allowing those catacombs to become only a myth.  The children and a handful of poor homeless elves still live down there.  We,” he pointed to Alexis and himself, “live there.”  Laughing, and looking at her, “They are actually not that bad.”

“Interesting,” the general said, “only if we had those maps.”

Alexis reached into her pouch and pulled out a yellowish folded paper and laid it on the table.  She carefully opened it, revealing a portion of the catacombs.  “Like this one?”

“Indeed,” he returned.

“This map shows the most direct route from the outside entrance I showed you to the sewer exit near the west gate.”

Randal moved next to her, “Alexis, what are you doing?”

“What we’ve talked about for the past few days,” she answered, “letting them in.”

“I thought it was a joke, just fantasy talk?”

Looking at him, she touched his face and smiled.  “Not for me.  Help please.  It will get me north.”

He took into a deep breath, “okay, what what’s your plan?”

Looking at them all, she felt in charge.  Their eyes were fixed on her, waiting; she took a deep breath, enjoying the brief feeling.  “Okay,” she finally said, “Randal will lead a team of yours,” looking at the Prince.  “He’ll take them from here,” pointing at the entrance, “and guide them through to the sewer exit by the west gate,” she finished pointing at the spot.  “This will be at dusk.  At this point, a few of the older children and I will cause trouble here,” again placing her finger on the map, “at the market square next to the gate.”

“That could be dangerous,” Patricia said.

“Nah,” Alexis replied chuckling, “we do it all the time.  Our actions will distract the soldiers in that area, allowing Randal and your team to get to the gate and open it.”  She drew a sigh, “from there, it’s all yours.”

“Why dusk?” Yonge asked.

“The guards change shift shortly after sundown.  At this point, their shift is nearly at an end.  They’ll be tired, anxious to get off shift, slower.  The relief will be over here in the mess getting their dinner prior to taking duty, far from the scene.”

Patricia looked at General Scott and Captain Yonge, then at her brother.  Suddenly she got a large grin on her face.  “I like it.  This will work.”

Scott was nodding his head in agreement.  “Yes, I think so.  I’ll get the soldiers and cavalry ready for the charge when the gates are open.  My lord, you wish to lead them?”

“By all means,” the Edwin answered.

“I’ll send in three squads,” Yonge added.  “One will go with Randal to the gate, the another to this mess hall, and I’ll lead the third here,” she pointed at the Keep on the east end of Callington.  We’ll get the gate secure.”

“I can have a trusted elf that lives with us show you an easier route to the keep from the catacombs,” Randal added.  “You’ll come up in the southwest tower.”

“Fantastic,” Yonge smiled.  “My lord, I’ll have a Brigade fire an signal arrow into the air prior to them opening the gate, so you can begin your charge.  By the time your cavalry reaches the walls, the gate will be open.”

“Great,” he answered.  “Well, we have preparations to do, and only about eleven hours to do it.  Let’s get in going shall we.”  He moved toward Randal and she, Alexis was smiling, she could not help feeling good about herself.  “And you two,” Edwin said, “If this works, Queoth will owe you far more than a trip north.”

“A trip north is all I ask for,” Alexis answered honestly.  She did not want anything else, there was nothing she needed or desired other than solving the mystery that began ten years ago.

 

The battle was raging as Patricia Kelmunt sauntered into the market square through the now captured west gate.  Her men were now fighting in the streets of Callington; it would be only a matter of time before the city was theirs.  It was a daring plan, but she knew it would be successful.   Young Alexis proved she just maybe a very valuable asset to Queoth and to Patricia herself.  The child was smart, brave, and clever in a sneaky, yet tactical way.

Patricia did not know what secrets the girl had, but she did know that necklace she wore around her neck was far more than a family heirloom.  Her own private research in the past has revealed that much too her.  Currently the scholars from the college at Yetsoeff purging through old elfin documents, and a few were digging in the mountains around Rhiwenna's Well.  Yet a scholar named Jim Reston found something in the eastern mountains recently that pointed to Brattvann.  This was her urgency to secure that town, for somewhere in those hills was documented to be an ancient ruined trading city of the now extinct mountain dwarves.  A city that might hold answers to a treasure long lost thousands of years ago.  A treasure not unlike the very sliver Alexis wore around her neck.

Slowing as she entered the market square, she stood by the now raised gate.  Alexis was fighting a Betten soldier.  She moved around him with ease and grace.  Spinning and parrying his blows as if she were dancing.  Even when a parry snapped her old sword, Alexis continued.  The agility, the flow the young woman showed reminded Patricia of someone from long ago, herself.  Watching Alexis, Patricia began to admire the teenager far more than she realized from her initial meeting.  She must devise a plan to entice the woman to stay with Yonge longer than she originally may have wanted to.

As Alexis darted around the soldier and placed her blade into the back of the soldier, taking him down, Patricia had a sense.  Her well-honed reflexes allowed her to spin quickly, lifting her cloak in to the face of a Betten soldier that was advancing on her from the rear.  As she blinded him she lifted the cloak over her head and in a dancing move dropped into the shadows near the wall.

As he was trying to locate her, which would be futile as she blended within the shadows, she crept silently along the wall until she was past him.  Flinging her cloak around again, she used the shadows around to emerge unseen behind him.  As he was turning, she stepped to him, drew her finely crafted dagger and in one fluid motion ran it across his throat, slicing wide open.  Stepping back she let the man fall lifeless to the ground.

Sheathing her dagger she walked up to Alexis, who was sitting against the gate wall staring at the soldier she just killed.  By the look on the lass’ face, this was the first man she had ever dispatched.  Patricia herself remembered that moment in her life so many years ago.  Indeed, it was hard to digest at first, but sometimes, killing is necessary.

Standing over Alexis, Patricia reached out and placed her hand on her shoulder.  The girl looked up at her, her eyes revealing sadness, but an excitement that would soon fleet away as the battle drew to a close.  Then, if not understanding her actions, the death she had brought to the soldier for the rest of her life.  This was a key turning point in Alexis’ life and Patricia was glad she was the one here for her.

“You alright my dear,” Patricia asked.

“I’ve never killed anyone before,” she returned.

“I know.  I sensed that.”

“It was easier, but yet harder than I thought,” a tear began to fall.

“The killing was easy, the living with it and handling is the hard part,” Patricia added.  “You understand it was either you or him?”

“Yes,” she took in a deep breath.  “But that doesn’t make it easier.”

“No it doesn’t.  But you needed to survive.”

“What makes me better than him?”

“Nothing.”

“Then why?”

“Alexis.  In time, it will be easier,” Patricia knelt in front of her.  “But never enjoy it, never go out of your way to kill.  Never succumb to the love or the thrill of it.  Always remember the lives you save, including yours for every death you bring.  His death had a purpose, it wasn’t needless.  He died so others in this city could live and maybe have a good life, a better life, and in the end turn out to help the world in their own way.”

Alexis looked up at her, digesting what she had said.  Patricia stood again and took a step back drawing her sword.  “Alexis,” she held out this blade.  “Take my sword as gift for what you did today.  It has served me well throughout the years.  It was made for me by elfish craftsmen.  It is a fine blade, a sharp blade.  Use it to bring love and justice into the world, removing the hate, the darkness.”

Alexis stood, taking the blade in her left hand.  Feeling the weight, she swung it around for a moment.  Holding it now in both hands Alexis looked her in the eyes.  “I will cherish it and use it well.  Thank you Lady Patricia.”

 

 



© 2010 Michael Raymond Robinson


Author's Note

Michael Raymond Robinson
Again, new twist. First draft...probably dozens of errors, of not more.

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

546 Views
Added on August 28, 2010
Last Updated on August 28, 2010
Tags: Adventure, wizards, elf, elves, mystery, dwarf, dwarves, Knight


Author

Michael Raymond Robinson
Michael Raymond Robinson

Robinson, PA



About
I'm returning to the Cafe. I look forward to reading and talking with ya'll within these cyberwalls. I am a lover of fantasy, science fiction, and supernatural thrillers. I was influenced at a yo.. more..

Writing