The Tale of Unknown

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Radagast, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Here's a story I started writing last year. Currently I have only two chapters written as I can't seem to find the time (or sometimes the will) to work on it. So keep in mind its a work in progress. Comments and reviews appreciated.

    Note: First chapter introduces Antagonist.
    Second chapter introduces Protagonist.


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    Chapter 1
    Strangers on a Misty Night

    He walked at a steady pace through the misty gate-entrance of the small town. The stone path in which he followed was cast with puddles from the falling rain, an aftermath of the evening storm. Silence was cast upon the line of formal buildings, and all appeared to be deserted except for a loud tavern far down the road. The silhouetted buildings in the moonlight gave no indication to any life abroad.

    Strangers entering at this hour were probably not a common occurrence for such a place, though little did it matter considering few were around to witness his arrival. I presume he would look quite frightening, his hood cast over his head in a mysterious manner, his hands covered in dried blood, his emerald green cape, and his menacing grey eyes. But most threatening would be the identical short swords attached upon his back and the deadly mace which hung leisurely at his belt, sending the message that this man was familiar with death.

    His horse trailed behind him, a large stallion, grey in colour. The constant beat of the hooves awoke the quiet, damp air. Nearby, an old man sitting against an older building, smoking a pipe, awakened from his daydream in fear as the stranger walked toward him. The grey eyes from underneath the stranger’s hood met the old mans worried blue eyes. As the stranger approached, paying little heed to the elder, the man pointed a trembling finger toward a sign posted in large letters for all to see.

    “ALL TRAVELLER’S WEAPONS WILL BE CONFISCATED BY DURNHAM TOWN HALL UPON ARRIVAL”
    ISSUED BY THE FEREDOTH REGION COUNCIL

    After glancing at the sign swaying in the wind, the stranger slowed, until he came to a slow halt parallel to the old man’s ridged face. Behind him, his horse sounded the crisp air with his voice before he became motionless like his master. The stranger’s grey eyes stared with intensity at the old man, while he pulled his emerald cape further around himself.

    “Weapons ain’t allowed in the town of Durnham, good sir. You need to give em’ up to the council.” Rang the soft, yet scared voice of the petrified elder, not knowing what else to tell. The stranger, quite annoyed, kept their eyes in a deadlock for a moment longer, letting the elder think his confused thoughts in fear, before responding in a powerful, yet mystical voice.

    “The Great One gave me this deadly mace as a symbol of my glory and power. I forewarn, do not question or threaten The Almighty, for in doing so, one invites death.”

    The power of the stranger’s voice threw back the elder in dread, and the threat of the strangers words put him into an ultimate silence of fright. Seeing that he had left the intended impact, the stranger started on again, finally leaving his eyes from the disturbed bystander. As the stranger made his way up the stone path through the town, he came across four more men, who all either averted their eyes and swallowed back in fear when he passed, or quickly ran off into the shadows of the alleyway.

    After a fair walk, he came across the lively tavern, the source of action in the town. The stranger peered through the window from afar, and analysed the dimly lit room of ‘The Durnham Steed’. Seeing there was little to be concerned of, he stopped and decided he had the time to rest over a glass of port. Guiding his horse to the lean-to stables casually attached onto the right side of the tavern, he stationed his horse in the farthest empty stall, nearest to the back door. Making sure his grey stallion had a good supply of hay and water, he then removed the two identical short swords and their plain sheaths from under his emerald cloak. Looking around, as to locate a worthy place for them to be concealed from other eyes, the stranger finally decided upon hiding them in the darkness of the rafters atop. Knowing that it would not be suspected nor seen there, and knowing that the stable boy would surely not stumble upon it because of the great height, the stranger carried on satisfied. Quickly rinsing his hands in the water trough to rinse off the dried blood, he then carried onwards into the tavern. The young stableboy, around the young age of ten, awakened from his deep sleep in the haystack just in time to see the hooded man in his emerald cloak, it caught innocently the wind, leave the building and enter the mist that shrouded the air.

    Pulling his emerald cloak tightly around himself as too partly hide the mace, the stranger then slowly entered the tavern. Glancing around the poorly lit room, he found no immediate threat, therefore carried onwards to a table near the back window. Silence was cast over the room as all turned around to see who the foreigner was, but once they stole a glance, they went back to their conversations. When he had sat down at his table in the dark shadows, the stranger began his instinct analysis of the room while he waited for the serving lady. Near the door, there was a large table of several older men playing a gambling game, while drinking ale, most of them intoxicated. In the far corner opposite of the stranger, two troubadour’s played folk songs by a large fireplace, one wielding a flute, the other a fiddle. An assortment of younger men and their wives sat at numerous tables, several of them congregated together, enjoying the tavern’s atmosphere. Sitting at a table not far from the stranger, a young blond haired tracker sat by himself, with three scent hounds laying quietly at his feet. Behind the counter the bartender, a short and slightly bigger fellow, tended to his customers with a loud, jolly voice. Not too far off from him sat two big men clothed in identical dark blue cloaks containing an embellished symbol, representing their authority. One was eating a bowl of soup in haste, the other smoking a pipe with his eyes closed. The stranger quickly noticed that these men carried long hunting knives in decorated bronze sheaths, the only ones in the room, other than himself, who carried any form of a weapon. On each musclier left arm, a large marking in red stood out resembling the symbol that was upon the navy cloaks of the two men. Finally, not to far from the stranger and the tracker, an older lady and a younger, attractive woman sat together, indulging in a strong discussion of politics.

    Within two minutes of the strangers arrival, a quiet middle aged woman, who held the position of the serving lady, came forth to take the strangers order.

    “And what can I get a tired traveller? Perhaps some mushroom soup and a loaf of bread?” The serving lady seemed unaware of the mace in which the stranger carried, the weapon covered by the emerald cloak. The stranger replied quickly in a quiet, yet harsh tone.

    “Nothing but a glass of port.”

    Looking a bit surprised from the strangers rudeness, being used to friendly faces and tones, the serving lady quickly left to carry out his request.

    The stranger sat quietly observing the others around him while he sipped his aged drink. Becoming very interested in the conversation between the elderly lady and her grand-daughter, concerning the politics of this region, he listened attentively seeking information.

    “I say them Feredoth officials steal to much of our hard earned coins. What do them spend it on? Where does it go? I don’t see nothing change around here, except the town becoming over run with those nasty guards.”

    The older woman nodded her head to the two men in identical clothes, both holding the identical symbol sewn upon their cloaks and tattooed into their arms. She went on, talking with her raspy voice.

    “We could all be rich n’ well off by now if we could keep our payments in full. Durnham would be prosperous and well known over the empire. The amazing city built by potato picker’s and cheese makers. Places like Airoma and Sarinic would trade with us. We would be the soul of this region, not that darn city Feredoth.”

    The younger lady now spoke in response, her voice sounding quite soft compared to the hard sounds of laughter and cheer around her.

    “Do not day dream, for you know that these Guards are for a good purpose. Without them, the region of Feredoth would be unprotected from an attack by the barbarians living in The Wilds. Rumour has it that the Prime Gate has been opened, though I don’t believe it to be true. Plus, the Council of Feredoth has not just invested silver in our protection. They also rebuilt the roads linking little towns like ours to the cities, and began to create a harbour down south.”

    “Heresay, that’s all it tis. Why, the Prime Gate hasn’t been opened in decades. Mad men come from them parts. The stories my pa’ used to tell me about them still haunt me day and night. Strange folk, indeed. But it’s all just drunk man talk, that’s it. The Prime Gate is safe and far away from Durnham.”

    As the conversation next to him carried on into aimless chat, the stranger pondered what he had learned from his convenient eavesdropping. Within moments, the serving lady came around carrying a jug of port, offering the stranger a refill.

    “Anymore Sir?” she said in a rushed, petrified tone, while glancing to her sides quickly. The stranger nodded his approval, and the middle aged woman nervously poured as best as she could, given her fright. The strangers menacing presence suddenly seemed to grow in shadow and size, and out of clumsiness, the serving lady accidentally poured a good portion of the port onto the strangers prized emerald cape.

    “Oh my! I am dreadfully sorry sir, please sir, let me clean that.”

    As the serving lady spoke in a begging tone, she grabbed the emerald cloak in an unexpected manner, hoping of soaking a bit of the port with her old rag. As she did so, she discovered the covered and deadly mace which was until then hidden from her and the others sight. Within a flash instant, the stranger grabbed her wrist and held it in a secretive yet threatening position, in hopes that she would not sound her discovery. Yet the serving lady panicked, and let out a deafening scream, which was followed by a loud crack from the stranger snapping her wrist into fragments. No sooner as she fell down in pain, the stranger was up and out of his chair, heading towards his escape, the door. When he got roughly halfway there, the two large guards, clothed in their blue cloaks, blocked his way. Among the two guards were many tipsy commoners, forming a circle to surround the stranger.

    Each guard held out their long hunting knife in an aggressive way, intent on capturing the mysterious stranger causing trouble. The first guard lunged towards the stranger dead on, hoping to be quick and stab him with his knife. In one quick motion the stranger grabbed his mace from his leather belt while gracefully dodging to the left, avoiding the momentum of the guard. The stranger then turned around at the same moment as the guard started to stand on his feet, shaken from his fall. Without hesitation, the stranger let his mace meet the guards face. The second guard came from behind and tried to dive his knife into the back of the strangers neck. Knowing that the guard was already there, the stranger grabbed the guards arm as he swiftly turned around. With a large snap, the stranger broke the guards arm and threw him with force down onto the ground. Holding the mace in both hands, the stranger lifted the mace far above his head, and used all his capable physical strength to bring it down on the helpless and defenceless guard.

    With none left challenging him, the stranger ran quickly past the crying women and astonished men, and left through the doorway. Once out into the cold, fresh air, the stranger slowed his pace down to a hurried and disciplined walk. Within seconds, he entered the shabby lean-to which served as the stables, and quickly retrieved his energetic grey horse. With nothing left to do, the stranger made off as quickly and quietly as he came.


    The lonely town of Durnham sounded with many noises during the middle of the that night. The confusion set upon those in the tavern who witnessed the tragic murders, along with the rain falling in a continuous pattern on top of the stone road awoke many who were in a restful sleep. In the distance, the faint beat of a great steed running his heart out could be heard loud and ever clear. The moonlight’s silhouette showed an unknown man, wearing a emerald cloak, fleeing as fast as he could . If one listened close enough, they would hear the faint laugh of misery drifting in the wind.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2004
  2. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Chapter 2
    Two Friends Unite

    "Servant Pallo, fetch me my outdoor robe and staff. I think a walk this fine and beautiful morning will do me plenty of good.” Ordered Ralinder in a quiet and thoughtful tone.

    “Yes Lord, indeed it will be a fine morning for a walk.”

    As Servant Pallo went off to carry out the assignment, Ralinder sat back down in his large leather chair of the Chiefs desk. The day prior had been full of aimless debates concerning mainly trade and economic issues of little importance. That had taking most of the energy out of Ralinder, and forced him to relax and gain strength. But one rumoured event raised at the council had caused him slight worry, if not fear. Word brought from Feredoth Messengers spoke of the Prime Gate breaking the connection, and Men of the Wilds venturing into The Four Regions Empire. The complexity of it involved made Ralinder glad that he was only a Chief of the small town called Wrellington, with little responsibility to attend to. If Men of the Wilds had already explored into the Four Regions, Ralinder doubted they would come into the Feredoth County, or would ever come near.

    Ralinder continued to access his thoughts as he got up from his luxurious leather hide chair, and walked to the large window to the right of his desk. Large rolling hills flowed through his vision, filled with patches of trees, creeks, streams, and the many herds of cattle, Wrellington’s economic pride. The towns main road, which was conveniently placed below the Chiefs second story office window, was packed with herders and merchants eager to arrive at the Trade Market. The local area designated for everyone’s economic purposes, the Trade Market was a well-known hangout for most citizens. Ralinder knew that it was also the most important area to hear the rumours and opinions of the people he served. Being the Chief of Wrellington, Ralinder had the responsibility of keeping the towns renowned economic power intact. The job had actually been elected to Ralinder, for the Chief position was assigned to a citizen regardless if they wanted the responsibility. Ralinder had shown no intentions of lust for the job, yet because of his work ethics and lovable characteristics, he was named Chief.

    Ralinder had grown up on a farm in the Wrellington District, and had come to know everything and everyone associated with the cattle based town. Having the advantage of this knowledge, Ralinder could always find a way out of most problems that came to his attention. But no matter how advanced Ralinder had progressed in his responsibilities and duties, he kept a strong will to return to his prior agriculture lifestyle. Since Ralinder was a teen, he had helped his father and uncle nurture their prized livestock and tend to the grain in the fields. For over fifteen years, he adapted and loved his hardworking yet carefree days. When he was called to the Chief position, his life changed drastically, and Ralinder ended up hiring a farmhand to help his father and uncle. Ralinder had resolved that some day he would return to his accustomed lifestyle, but for now he had to tend to the people of Wrellington.

    The sound of the door opening rang through the air as Ralinder turned slowly from the vast window to see Servant Pallo entering the room in a hurried and quickened walk.

    “Here you go my Lord. Your robe and staff as you wished.” The voice of Pallo, Ralinder’s personal servant, startled him out of his preoccupied thoughts. Pallo was a young man, not yet of the twentieth age, but already his dedication to his servant job had pleased Ralinder beyond expectations. Servant Pallo was a trusty aide to consult with when needing the reassurance on Ralinder’s decisions. Although he was easy to talk with, Servant Pallo was young and had yet a lot to learn.

    “Thank you Servant Pallo. Are there any important issues that need attending before I make off?” Ralinder questioned, as he put on his outdoor robe and held the staff in an instinctual manner.

    “Aide Mervicall wish’s to discuss several insignificant problems with you some time today. That is all.”

    “Very well then, Servant Pallo. You are free to do as you wish until I return.”

    Servant Pallo then quickly made off in a hurried scurry out the door, obvious to Ralinder that he had some place important he intended to go. Ralinder started out of his office door, and quickly made down the steep wooden stair case, taking special care to not trip. After journeying past the kitchen, council rooms, and the many diverse offices, Ralinder eventually found the backdoor which lead to his chosen path. Welcomed by a breath of fresh air, and the enhancing smell of cedar trees, Ralinder quickly made down the narrow stone path past the gardens. Having the knowledge of which way to turn, and knowing where he wanted to go, within no time Ralinder was wandering the quiet farm roads of Wrellington.

    To either side of Ralinder sturdy fences enclosed vast open areas, and large herds of cattle could be seen causally grazing the hilly landscape. Greeting the milk carts and farmers as they passed by, Ralinder again started to ponder the stressful issue of the Prime Gate, it slipping into his thoughts more than he preferred. As Ralinder assessed the facts, along with questioning the results of his actions, he came to realize that not all the information he needed was available or known. Trivializing many possibilities and outcomes, Ralinder came to conclude that it would be best to send a messenger to Feredoth to learn more. Ralinder also decided that it would be wise to discuss this with the Chief’s of his two neighbouring cities, Durnham and Trilitta. The small town of Durnham was not known for any important achievements, yet it had been a trading partner of Wrellington for many decades. Trilitta had also held a crucial trading relationship with Wrellington, it being a town that trained guards for Feredoth protection. It was custom for the three towns Chief’s to consult with each other in times of need and danger.

    Ralinder always loved the sound of chirping birds, and this morning plenty were about. Whistling a primitive song, he let himself be taken by the beautiful surrounding and relaxing atmosphere. Behind him, Ralinder could hear an approaching lone horse walking slowly, most likely pulling a cart. A warm, cheery voice rang through the bright air, one Ralinder immediately recognized as his long friend.

    “Dear Ralinder, slow down lest you trip in your haste.”

    Ralinder turned around to see his childhood friend Gerrivac chuckling to himself, not an uncommon occurrence. Gerrivac usually saw humour where others were blind, but almost always kept it to himself. Hauling an empty cart, Gerrivac had most likely been to the Trade Market very early this morning, and was returning home with the weeks pay. Gerrivac lived on a farm close to where Ralinder’s father and uncle lived, where Ralinder had grown and worked prior to his current lifestyle. Gerrivac was only two years older than Ralinder, and all through both of their childhood years the two of them spent countless hours of adventure. Gerrivac now ran his fathers farm by himself, as his family had died several years ago in a house fire. Out of sheer chance Gerrivac escaped, but the reminder of the memory was marked with a ugly scar across Gerrivac’s face. But even with the painful past, Gerrivac did not let it hinder him from his goals. Most of what Gerrivac earned from his hard work he spent on his education. Ralinder knew that Gerrivac treasured his library of books more than life itself, and strove to expand his intellect daily.

    “Friend, its been a while. My job has kept me far to busy lately, and I have not found the time for visits. Forgive me.” replied Ralinder, realizing only then it had been near three months since he had last seen Gerrivac.

    “Do not worry about thee, for I make do fine. How about yourself? How are tidings with Wrellington.” Gerrivac’s voice asked in a persistent seeking manner.
    Ralinder turned and looked out across the countryside as he replied in a lying tone. “All is well and fine.” Turning back around to face his friend, Ralinder knew that his cover would not fool Gerrivac’s wisdom.

    “I can see in your eyes confusion and a troubled heart. Tell the news.” Gerrivac’s voice rose with authority and power. Gerrivac’s rare gift of knowing human behaviour always puzzled Ralinder, and Ralinder knew it was only one of the many unknown things that Gerrivac possessed.

    Knowing that keeping the news from him would be futile, Ralinder gave in. “Talk from travellers of other towns and rumours from Feredoth tell that the Prime Gate has been opened. Men of the Wilds have entered the Four Regions. I know it does not affect me, or Wrellington directly, but it is still is a concern that does not leave my mind. I still do not know much of the information needed, and I am planning on sending someone to Feredoth as to learn more of the situation.”

    Gerrivac sat motionless in the drivers chair of the older cart, not saying anything, but appearing to be in a deep, transfixed thought. Ralinder decided it was best that he talked with Gerrivac, hoping perhaps he could gain some insight from Gerrivac’s thoughts. After many moments of silence, Gerrivac finally spoke in a slow voice.

    “It is indeed dangerous if your tales are true. I know little of this Prime Gate, and what lies behind it. Little is known.”

    Ralinder agreed, knowing full well that none of the books at the Chiefs Office held any information about the mysterious lands beyond the Prime Gate and its walls. Ralinder even questioned if it was land that was blocked off from the Four Regions, as believed by the majority of folk.

    “If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate it if you came with me to the Chief’s Office, as I still have to discuss this with Aide Mervicall.” Ralinder realized that his friend could prove to be very resourceful with this complex problem.

    “It would be a pleasure to help with such great of matters. Climb on, and we will be off.” Gerrivac then started to chuckle in his odd little way. Ralinder did not bother to question the reason for his sudden amusement, as he was to engrossed with his own thoughts.



    * * * * * * * * * *


    It was getting to be near noon when Gerrivac and Ralinder finally journeyed down the streets of Wrellington. Gerrivac had insisted that they return to his farm, as he needed to get something, but left unsaid what that item was. Out of habit, Ralinder quieted his questioning voice which yearned to be free. Ralinder regretted that he had to avoid his want of visiting his father and uncle. As of the moment, more important things could make better use of Ralinder’s time.


    The amount of people present had died down since morning, leaving the streets utterly silent in a lone terrified manner. Except for the sweet tune of Gerrivac’s creative mixture of whistling and humming, all else around was nothing. Town life seemed to be at a calm standstill, except for a few wanderers with useless destinations. With a slow pull on the reigns, Gerrivac halted his cart horse on the side of the street and started to exit the bench in which the driver sat. Ralinder looked at the building in which they stopped so gracefully in front of. He read it out loud all the while looking at Gerrivac with a questioning face.

    “Taeloin Armoury. Why does a man who values peace need the assurance of brutal protection?”

    Gerrivac’s relaxed face finally came to look at Ralinder’s, showing without doubt a hint of humour. “I wish to buy a spear, that is all. Do not worry, I will be half a minute.”

    “I suppose it would be for the betterment if I joined you and had a look. I would not mind having the pleasure of seeing such a hypocritical act.” Ralinder tantalized innocently, trying to keep up with the bigger stride of Gerrivac. Gerrivac gave a quick shake of his head in return to Ralinder’s comment.

    “A spear is all I wish. I never spoke a word of using it for harm, or anything of the sort.” Gerrivac’s voice hinted the truth of his pledge. Ralinder smiled to himself at the unique and unpredictable behaviour of his friend, which he had long ago gotten used to.

    The interior of the Taeloin Armoury was by far more filthy than Ralinder had expected, him never having use to enter the building. The blurred window, the only source of light, was covered in a thick filth which hindered its use. The original stone floor was packed down with layers of dirt, likely having never seen a broom in its existence. All around sharp steel glowed menacingly on half-rotten wooden racks. The faint pounding of a hammer in the backroom gave hint to some blacksmith work being done, confidently reassured by the thick smell of smoke from the forge. As Ralinder followed Gerrivac to the back wall, where spears of all lengths and varieties were lined up in a uniform row beside the axes, he noticed the diverse amount of weapons Taeloin’s carried. Finely crafted maces hung against the left side of the room, while beautifully designed swords, short and long, were placed on the right side of the room. In the middle of the room dilapidated tables held knives of all types, some finely decorated in gold with jewels to please the eye. In the corner underneath the musty window, large containers held hundreds of arrows, all with a different use. Above it, dozens of bows hung leisurely from a line tied to the roof rafts.

    When they got to the end of the room, Gerrivac immediately started to analyse the vast amount of different spears available. From the back room the sounds of the hammer stopped, and an old man came out with a grin on his face at the prospect of customers. It grew even bigger when he realized who Ralinder was.

    “Taeloin’s the name. How can I help Chief Ralinder and friend? You have come to the finest Armoury in the Feredoth Region, I assure you that.” Taeloin spoke in a raspy, dried voice, but its aged sound still held energy.

    Gerrivac did not seem to even notice the blacksmith there, so Ralinder spoke up in a friendly tone. “My friend here has need of a spear.”

    “Ah yes, Master Chief, of course. Well we hold a vast amount of good quality spears, and all of.....”

    “This one. I shall purchase this one.” Gerrivac’s strong voice overtook old Taeloin’s without any effort. Gerrivac casually held a spear made of fine quality into the air, it looking quite plain, having only a small engraving in the wooden staff with the proud title “The Hunt’s Minstrel”. Ralinder personally thought that it was not the greatest choice out of the vast selection of spears, but he knew Gerrivac would not of chosen this one so quickly without a good reason.

    “A fine choice good sir, that spear comes from the far north, made by the men of Polinder. Used to hunt the wild white bears of that region, it is.” Taeloin quickly replied, displaying to Gerrivac and Ralinder his memory of knowing each of his many weapons to the utmost.

    Gerrivac muttered a quick, but muffled reply of interest, followed by a question. “How did you happen to come by this, and how much are you asking for it?”

    Taeloin remained silent for a short moment, then replied in a slower, deeper voice. “I bought it off of some merchants who came south last fall. They sold it to me for a reasonable price, but since it seemed not to sell as quickly as I had hoped, I will give it to you for 100 silver mark.

    A reasonable amount, Ralinder thought silently, but he knew that it was still roughly 20 mark overpriced.

    “I will take it then.” Gerrivac responded in finality, and calmly shook hands with the grinning Taeloin. Gerrivac quickly handed over the required amount of mark, and made off to the door, with Ralinder’s quick step following him. As Ralinder made way out to the cart, he wondered again the mad reason Gerrivac came across, convincing him he would have need of this spear.

    The day outside was still bright and crisp, and Ralinder paused a moment to take in the beauty. As he looked at the joyful clouds, haphazardly covering the sky, his eye caught the position of the sun and he realized that it was time he get back to his office. Servant Pallo would probably be getting into some trouble without him there to keep him occupied, and Aide Mervicall would surely be annoyed with his absence. Ralinder glanced back down to Gerrivac, who was causally putting the spear under his bench on the farm cart, and in one quick and unforeseen motion, he leaped up with ease, ready to carry onwards. Ralinder quickly scrambled upwards to the wooden bench and sat beside Gerrivac, deciding to break the silence with another remark about the spear. Alas, as soon as Ralinder opened his mouth, Gerrivac spoke his own comment.

    “Not from merchants, bloody moon, not from merchants.”

    “What’s that?” Ralinder replied in a surprised tone, still caught off guard by the random comment.

    “Taeloin said that ‘he bought it from merchants’. Theirs no cursed way he got this foreign spear from merchants.”

    “And how would you know that?” Ralinder replied, curious for his response.

    “I felt it in the way he awkwardly responded to my question. You know, friend, the one about where he acquired the spear.”

    “Oh.” It was all that Ralinder could think of for a response. Their was a pause in the conversation, while Ralinder casually nodded to a couple people who past by.

    “I would not doubt the notion that he stole it. A man like that cannot easily come by this weapon without stealing it.” Gerrivac glanced Ralinder’s way, and seeing the bewildered face, he carried on.

    “This spear of Polinder, more precisely, ‘The Hunts Minstrel’, is the prized weapon given to the twenty winner’s of an annual competition that the Polindai hold every nine years. It is a great competition, and all the men of Polindai are required to participate. The object of the competition is to hunt down the great white bears of their bitter north weather. The man who slays the most wins the competition.”

    Ralinder paused a moment before responding, “I would assume they would eventually kill off all the beasts, with every man of the Polindai hunting.”

    “Friend, I suppose one would think that, if only given the facts that I have just given you. I forgot to mention that they must make their own weapons, from the gifts of the land. The Polindai hunters are not allowed to bring any other tool, other than their hands. In fact, the hunters are not allowed to bring any supplies at all, other than the clothes on their back. Not only do they have to hunt and kill the bears, but they have to survive and keep their life in the coldness. Very few species, other than the bears, wander that region during the winter. That makes it considerably harder. Forgive me, but I also forgot to mention that the population of all the men in Polinder is considerably low. Perhaps no more than 8,000 native men dwell there currently, and most likely the region has probably never seen more than 12,000 men in its entire history. Oh yes, and any man who does not slay at least one beast is killed by tradition. If you wound one, but do not kill it, you work hard labour for the good of the people for one year. The motivation in their hearts is strong.”

    Ralinder in a state of shock at the brutal tale he was hearing, and did not respond, but his expression said enough for Gerrivac to continue.

    “I suppose now you can see why the men of Polinder from tales are very fierce and secluded. As their tradition goes, any man who gains a spear is said to be ‘ice’. To make a comparison, this would be the equivalent of a lord or chief, such as yourself. They would possess the power to overrule any other citizen, other than the other ice. In times of need, such as if the Prime Gate lost its connection, all the ice living, no matter the age, will come together for council.”

    Ralinder finally found his voice, and asked the dangerous question that had been bothering him throughout Gerrivac’s lengthy teaching.

    “So, how did you know that Taeloin possessed one of these spears, here in Wrellington.”

    Gerrivac answered with a simple, unconcerned voice that chilled Ralinder as he calmly stated in ease.

    “I dreamed it.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2004
  3. asap

    asap New Member

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    Good work

    Mmm.

    I like your descriptive style. It makes the scenes seem vivid, you can sense both the scenery and the people in it. Your way of telling the story makes it easy to follow and the reader can 'see' the characters, and on the same 'see' what the characters see (I mean, I can 'see' the 'Arriving to Durnham' scene both from the old man's and the armed traveller's viewpoint). Also, the fight-scene was very fluent, the way you wrote it actually enables the reader to imagine it as well.

    Parts of it need a bit of work yet. You know, trim a little from here, add a little there... (cough-typos-cough ;))


    In entity it has the characteristics of a good story. It's intriguing, making you imagine possible meanings, reasons and explanations; it raises curiosity - you're willing to listen, because you want to find out more; and it manages to create a connection between the character and the reader, keeping the reader interested about the character's faith.

    This far that world or yours seems to be quite interesting :).



    --------
    Just my humble opinion :) ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2003
  4. Turin_Turambar

    Turin_Turambar Imperial Seraphim Lord

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    A very interesting read indeed. I liked the background for the Polindai spear, or more specifically The Hunt's Minstrel. I am always interested in weapon backgrounds, how they came into being, thier reason for existing, etc. It was a very involving read, but if I may, I will point out one thing. Near the beginning of your first chapter, the stranger placed two short swords in the rafters of the stables prior to entering the tavern. Afterwards, during his flight, he neglected to retrieve them. Any particular reason for this, or was it just a slip of the mind? Other than that, it was a very intriguing read. I eagerly await the third chapter.
    Your Truly.
    Raziel.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2003
  5. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Well, I have a reason in my mind, but it probably won't come into play until the fourth chapter. But who knows, it could be seen in the third also.

    As of right now, I am about (approx.) half done the third chapter. I know, I should be working on it more, but it's hard to find time;). Anyways, hopefully I can get the third out as soon as possible, realistically, probably by Feb/March.
     
  6. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Chapter 3
    The Swift Come


    As they approached the large and empowering building in which Ralinder knew as his office halls, Gerrivac slowed his horse down to view the commotion that was afire in front of the main arched doors. The cart creaked and groaned tiredly under the sudden movement, but not one of the screaming or raging crowd members in front of the building took any notice to the curious farmer Gerrivac, beside the jolted Chief Ralinder. In front of the large oak doors two of the towns Feredoth Guards and the aged Aide Mervicall, currently isolated in the sea of Wrellington locals, were frantically trying to get the crazed crowd under control by shouting out futile commands. Ralinder’s quick eyes found Servant Pallo near the side of the building, a touch away from the crowd. Pallo was standing closely beside a crying girl of whom Ralinder did not know, but at the moment Ralinder had little time to reflect on minor details.

    Without thinking, Ralinder leapt off of the moving cart in an ungraceful manner and swiftly walked towards Pallo. Servant Pallo immediately noticed Ralinder, and came forward walking in a swift yet unusually nervous stride. A strained voice from Pallo’s mouth reached Ralinder’s ears as the distance closed between them, a voice racing against an unseen enemy.

    “Lord...a man...that man...over there...he came here..after you left..said that trouble..Durnham...”

    “Slow down, Servant Pallo. I can barely understand you.” From the side of Ralinder’s eye he could sense Gerrivac approaching and stopping several paces behind him. “Now, first off, which of those men came here?”

    Servant Pallo held out a trembling finger towards a young man, no more than a couple years older than Pallo himself. With first appearance Ralinder thought the stranger to be oddly out of place, as he was calmly sitting on the grass watching the horde with no apparent interest. The messenger had a vivid colour of blonde-red hair, and wore clothes in a fitting forest shade. Sleeping near his feet were three hounds, having as much interest in the disturbance as their master. Ralinder thought it extremely odd that with this turmoil and panic in the crowds, it spreading faster around them as more citizens came to see what was amiss, that this stranger did not react or even appear to be troubled by the havoc.

    “Mild down Servant Pallo and speak very slowly, so I can understand you and your every word. What did that man say or do to cause this mess?” Ralinder noticed the apparent amount of effort that Pallo was exercising to try and get a hold of himself. Distantly Ralinder also took note of the quick yet rather random glance’s Pallo was exhibiting towards the young lady with who he was originally situated with.

    “I did not hear the full tale of it my lord, but it is horrid. He came in the middle of the night and murdered, my Lord. Murdered.” Pallo stopped his speech as if to try and leave as big of impact as possible for Ralinder, which was quite unnecessary. After a moment of only Ralinder’s citizens wailing in the background, Pallo continued on picking up speed with his speech. “But not here sir, not here. Durnham, I believe he said. But still. He could be in our town, sir. Very possible, considering the road is very accessible. Oh! It’s bloody bad we did not build a wall, sir. We could enclose ourselves, protect ourselves...”

    Ralinder stopped listening to Servant Pallo’s useless nonsense of a speech, knowing that he was not going to learn more from the young man. Leaving him abruptly, and in other circumstances quite rudely, Ralinder started towards the man bearing the ill news. As soon as he departed, Gerrivac was right behind him listening to Servant Pallo retell the story once more.

    With an attempted walk containing the most confidence Ralinder could muster he approached the man, stopping a good distance from the hounds, but still close enough to have a discussion with the traveller. The hounds laying near by paid him no more attention than the commotion not far off, which Ralinder admired for a small and abrupt moment before he focussed back onto the man. With a stern voice Ralinder attempted to remain courteous, yet still hoped to convey his authority in an evident manner.

    “Good sir, I am Ralinder, the Chief of Wrellington. It is to my understanding that you are the one who originally caused this upset here.”

    The tracker slowly moved his gaze towards Ralinder, but remained quiet. As the silence grew on, Ralinder couldn’t help but become rather annoyed by the strangers serenity. At length the young man responded, his voice light with a strong edge of wit and sarcasm.

    “And good sir, I am just plain Felengil, Felengil of the Swift.”

    Ralinder did not recognize anything special about the name, but suspected with good odds that he was not from Feredoth. Along with slightly variant accent, the smooth sound present within the name Felengil would not be commonly heard in these lands. Ralinder quickly dived into his first question before realizing the man had side tracked his first statement.

    “And where do you dwell, Felengil? Wait man, answer my question! Did you bring this trouble here?”

    “Trouble good man? There is no trouble here, alas, I see nothing to distress over.” As the final words were spoken Felengil went back into a state of being oblivious, closing his eyes and humming a tune that could easily be played on a shepard’s pipe.

    Ralinder began to realize that he was scarlet in the face at the strangers manner. Frustrated, Ralinder let out an exasperated noise that few commonly heard from the Chief of Wrellington. Citizens were abiding to Ralinder and answered his questions when he asked them a good portion of the time. Looking back for help, he found that the crowd still raged loudly and Gerrivac and Pallo were now quickly jogging towards the raging crowd. Hopefully they could help Aide Mervicall get things under control, but Ralinder still had his doubts. Ralinder decided he would give the stranger one last chance before he was forced to conjure another less appealing alternative.

    “Master Felengil. Not only have you not answered my question of where you dwell, but you have given me an unclear and mocking answer to the reason of this commotion, of which I was informed that you started. Answer my questions, stranger! My citizens need me as soon as possible.”

    “Stranger. It is funny you should choose to call me that, good man. But alas, I can have no claim to the title of stranger, and little would I wish it. That is what he has become known as, if you wish to know. Stranger of the Mist. Yes, very misty in Durnham.”

    With the second mention of Durnham, a fellow town in Feredoth and trading partner with Wrellington, Ralinder concluded that the brief bit Servant Pallo stated had some truth to it. “Perhaps, Master Felengil, you should wish to enter my private corridors. Much quieter in there, and maybe we could discuss this further. Your hounds are also welcome to come.”

    “I am afraid, good man, that I am bound to the laws of the Swift. ‘Once provides truth, twice fathers rumour, thrice spawns a lie’. I explained all to a dear old man, one who was much more, hmm, less demanding than yourself. But it seems he has found himself caught in a crowd, funny as that may seem. I would account that it is rather hard to get out of crowds, especially ones thirsty with anger. Never tried it personally, but logic leads one to believe it’s difficult.”

    With a final glance at the man, who appeared to be wearing a mocking smirk upon his face, Ralinder left with vexed thoughts and a bitter attitude. Strolling with a quick walk that Ralinder hoped displayed a calm and distinguishing manner to those who finally noticed him, a walk in which Ralinder wished to gain a little of the dignity he felt lost, he approached the crowd. It appeared that Pallo and Gerrivac had worked their way upwards to Aide Mervicall and the Feredoth Guards, yet they’re efforts were of no help. Pushing his way through the crowd, he caught Aide Mervicall’s eye and soon heard the shouts change from passive reassurance to aggressive commands to let Ralinder through. Within little time, the crowd fully learned of his appearance, and as such quieted down a great deal compared to the loud moments before, yet they still murmured with worry and trouble. Quickly turning to the crowd, Ralinder spoke in haste, not wanting to draw out questions in which he would have no answer. From the corner of his eye, he could still see Felengil isolated with his hounds, appearing asleep.

    “My good folk of Wrellington, I beg of you to remain composed until I can sort out the problems that have arose. Myself and Aide Mervicall must discuss the issue diplomatically, and until we reach resolution, we wish for you to remain calm and civil.” Motioning for Gerrivac and Pallo to journey inside with Ralinder and Aide Mervicall, the four left the noise of the crowd, which seemed to raise in amplitude as they progressed farther into the arched corridors that ran geometrically throughout the building. As the walk continued though, the crowds plea for help seemed to slowly vanish from Ralinder’s ears, leaving only the consistent footsteps to break the silence that consumed the party.

    Eventually the group came upon a large and finely gilded wooden door, the bronze handles cold and merciless against Ralinder’s hands. Ralinder waited before opening the tall entrance, and turned to face Pallo, who was standing meekly behind Aide Mervicall and Gerrivac. Trying not to think of the consequences of his decision, Ralinder made himself stare past Pallo while he spoke.

    “Servant Pallo. Muster all available Feredoth guards stationed in Wrellington, by order of Chief Ralinder. Immediately tell them to arrest the traveller, the man with the hounds. The use of physical enforcement is praised, if it becomes necessary. Return and be quick about it!”

    With that said, Pallo dashed off in a quick sprint. Ralinder returned his hands to the cold bronze handles and pushed the swinging wood open. Inside, a large hall engulfed the long and narrow table, made to sit several more men of office than currently necessary. To either side of the table, two large fireplace’s consumed the stone walls, pleasurable to the eye through interesting angle cuts. Opposite to the tall doors in which the company entered, five windows served with alternating green and blue stained glass, with seven wool tapestries separating the windows. Artistic and abstract images of Wrellington’s culture clouded them in a smooth flow, made in a manner so that they did not catch the eye unless you directly looked towards them. Walking to the left end of the long table, Ralinder took his seat in a leather padded chair set several inches high. Gerrivac followed, taking the chair two off from Ralinder on the left side, yet Aide Mervicall remained standing, his crooked back making him near eye level with Ralinder’s raised chair. He started to pace a slow walk while his aged voice shattered the silence, his words shattering Ralinder’s hopes.

    “Chief Ralinder, the rumours are true.” With the curious look set on Gerrivac’s face, Aide Mervicall explained further, assuming Gerrivac did not already know.

    “Rumours by trade had come not thirty nights ago, speaking of the Prime Gate reopening and Men from the Wilds entering the eastern lands. Chief Ralinder and myself decided not to immediately worry, and the sole course of action we did take was to inquire with Feredoth on these claims. Word was soon brought forward that these rumours may have truth to them, yet this very morn two Feredoth messengers came and gave pure confirmation from the Head Council.” Aide Mervicall paused to pour himself a small glass of liqueur, before turning now to Ralinder, awaiting a response.

    “Speak of the traveller present at current, who caused the citizen’s distress. It is enough of a worry knowing that the rumours are true, but surely our townsfolk would not become this upset?”

    Aide Mervicall drained his glass before looking at Ralinder, his eyes glinting with a shame and sadness that was rather unnerving. Glancing quickly towards Gerrivac, who was leaning intently on his elbows listening, Aide Mervicall continued on. His voice though, seemed to lose some vigour, and his pacing quickened to more than a casual stroll.

    “The man, who abides under the name of Felengil, came from Durnham where he apparently spent the prior night. He is apart of the classic order called the Swift. I do not know much of them, yet perhaps Master Gerrivac....” Aide Mervicall gave his head a nod towards Gerrivac, who was lost in one of the tapestries, deep in thought. Ralinder was about comment when Gerrivac’s strong voice sounded.

    “The Swift. Men of astounding tracking abilities, though it is rumoured that there are other mystic skills that remain cloaked from us foreigners. They do not dwell in the Feredoth Region, and I would contest that it is very rare for one to journey this far south. They abide in the great Forest of Zepihae, and defend it from intruders trying to enter with a rare passion of fury.”

    Aide Mervicall nodded with fresh intrigue, mirrored by Ralinder himself. Gerrivac motioned with his hand grandly for Aide Mervicall to continue his own speech.

    “As was mentioned, he had spent the night in Durnham at the tavern. He was rather vague with his detail, but apparently...” Aide Mervicall slowed his anxious pace and looked at Ralinder desperately.

    “Apparently...continue!” Ralinder shouted.

    “Apparently one of the barbarians from across the Prime Gate journeyed into Durnham. Into the tavern. I cannot be sure, as Felengil spoke with colourful speech, but the message was clear. Slaughter, m’lord,” replied Aide Mervicall.

    “Can you recall what Felengil said? Any description?” asked Ralinder. He noticed that Servant Pallo had returned and was taking a seat in the corner. Gerrivac still seemed lost in the colour’s of the tapestry.

    “He told me that the commoners had started to call him Stranger of the Mist, yet he himself referred to the wild man as the Emerald Cloak. If that provides any inclination,” Aide Mervicall looked to Gerrivac before Ralinder, though Gerrivac knew no more than himself.

    Silence overtook the hall and left Ralinder with his thoughts. There were few choices available, but the continual worry that Wrellington would be next was insistent on Ralinder’s mind. Gerrivac though, spoke up with an unusually energetic voice.

    “Master Mervicall and friend Ralinder. What if we journeyed to Durnham? It is only a short ride and we need more information before we make our decisions. They will need our assistance at this trivial time. From there, we can decide what course of action is the most beneficial.”

    Ralinder looked to Mervicall, who was nodding his head in agreement. Caught in uncertainty, Ralinder could only assume that there were no better choices at the moment. Gerrivac was not one to voice his opinion unless it held, according to him, infinite logic.

    “Then it is decided. Gerrivac, myself and a small company of Feredoth guards shall leave immediately. You can handle Wrellington’s affairs during our quick expedition, Aide Mervicall.” Ralinder started to get up, but was stopped when Servant Pallo’s melodic voice sounded from the far end of the room.

    “Lord Ralinder. Would you...could you make it possible for me to unite on your journey? I realize the momentous significance of your expedition, but I would find it of most interest.”

    Ralinder paused, but knew quickly that he could not hinder the boy from experience. “You may join, Servant Pallo. But think deep on the momentous significance of which you speak. You seem to have recovered from your earlier state of scare, but realize that the danger involved is far from being enjoyable.”

    The lad nodded his acknowledgement, trying desperately to hide his excitement. Aide Mervicall gave Ralinder a disapproving look, yet spoke no words. With no more to discuss, the four rose and silently exchanged brief looks before Ralinder, followed by Gerrivac and Pallo, vacated the room. The eerie comfort of their sole footsteps sounded through the rigid hall until the slow cries from the front of the large building began to build. Walking back out into the bright sunlight, Ralinder gave quick words of reassurance that held little warmth. They were broken, however, by Servant Pallo meekly tapping Ralinder’s shoulder.

    “Lord Ralinder, I must quickly go speak to a friend before we depart. It is urgent, I assure you.” Servant Pallo’s voice was frantic, as though he was worried that unfortunate consequences would arise if not given the chance to converse. Giving a quick nod, Ralinder continued walking onwards away from the dash of dust left from Pallo’s feet. Ralinder suspected it was related to the girl Pallo had been comforting earlier. Gerrivac gave a grunt to reflect Ralinder’s assumption.

    Once past the crowd, Ralinder could easily see that Felengil had been seized or had escaped. Either choice appeared equally likely. No Feredoth guards were in sight, though a brisk walk down the street to their barracks and office hall quickly provided them. Ralinder entered the wooden and windowless office hall, a standard structure common to every town and village. Upon entering, Ralinder had to push his way through the twelve muscular Feredoth guards assigned to Wrellington. Each had there attention dedicated to Felengil, who sat cross-legged on the wooden floor, smoking an elegantly curved and engraved pipe.

    “Master Felengil, I see you have found yourself under watchful eyes.” Ralinder spoke sarcastically, the embarrassment received from the man earlier still an annoyance.

    Felengil did not look up to meet Ralinder’s eyes as he spoke. “Ah, the mighty and great Ralinder returns. Would you care to join me in my smoke?”

    “No Master Felengil, I must apologetically refuse. Yet you will have the luxury of associating me on a short expedition, under watchful eyes, of course.”

    When the man made no response, Ralinder turned to the Chief of Wrellington’s Feredoth Guards, providing the instructions and orders in a whisper. Once finished, the Chief quickly went off to accomplish his tasks. Not long after, five guards were selected and Felengil wrists were tied securely. Giving a glance towards Gerrivac, Ralinder noticed that he was intent on Felengil, both caught in an analysing eye lock. Ralinder broke it by initiating the expedition outdoors, where nine well bred stallions waited for departure.

    The other men quickly strapped their bags on, while Ralinder mounted his strong steed. Turning back, he noticed Felengil did not seem to notice the binds around his wrists. His fluent leap onto his horse was far more agile than the five Feredoth guards, who quickly surrounded him to lead his horse. Pallo came running out from one of the several alleys and joined the group hastily. With a quick nod to Gerrivac, Ralinder kicked his stallion into a lazy run, only to be followed by the eight other men. Ralinder gave a glance back, only to find Felengil’s eyes intent upon him. His sweet voice quickly followed.

    “Thus it has commenced, Master Ralinder. Stay upon your feet.”


    * * * * * * * * * * ​


    The minor fire dispersed it’s sudden heat across the soft leaves that cluttered the clearing, while heating the large metal cylinder that contained the aromatic scents of worship. Breaking his meditation of prayer, he rose from his laying position and stretched the limbs that had gone numb hours ago. He would of preferred to show his grace to the Great One in a Sunlight Temple, as was proper when giving respect in his homeland. But the Almighty were given many leniencies because of their dangerous work, and all officials from the homeland agreed that it was critical and essential for their order to indulge in the fragrance of worship. The absence of the smell would be beyond deadly, it would place the Almighty’s mind capabilities at the same level as the normal folk of these foreign lands.

    By now he had travelled far enough that he no longer needed to journey in total secrecy. The earlier events of the prior days were troubling. He had left his twin sword’s in the stables because of his sudden departure, and did not risk the venture to retrieve the finely crafted blades. His mace was worth far more, being the symbolic soul of the Almighty. The loss of his mace would invoke the self death spell that protected the Almighty from betrayers. But his faith was always to the Great One, and his dedicated work for the Almighty would forever prevail.

    Now that his mind was fully exploited with the wave of comprehension, he took note of the sounds displayed by the nature surrounding him. For miles, he could hear the tones of wildlife, a consistent prattle of random movements holding no uncertainty. But then he heard them. The hooves approached at a trot, a group of nine. They would come across him eventually if they did not change direction, but given their rate of speed it would not be for another two hours. By that given time, he will have travelled to the main road where most commoners are seen, leaving a nasty gift those who approached the camp. It would be a shame for one of these foreign primitives to come across the lingering scents left by the camp fire. The aroma’s of worship were dangerous to any who refused to accept the Great One.

    Closing his eye’s, the whispered chant of the misery poured slowly out of his mouth in a practised form all of the Almighty recited daily from childhood. He chose his tone to direct the actions that he desired, which was followed by a sick, pale red glow signifying the chant of the misery had been ingrained into the terrain. With a sadistic laugh, he flourished his emerald cape with a turn and mounted his grey stallion in departure.