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Chapter 1
A Walk In the Woods






Halrith kept in matching stride to his horse; its glossy brown hair glinted in the sun that made its way occasionally through the great branches of the cedar and pine of the Constine Forest that surrounded the city of Yatosuun.
Halrith looked his horse over, he himself trudging the ever-growing depths of the stream, that was beginning to look more and more like the Tresniand River. The monster’s eyes-or eye really; it was hard for a horse to look at him with both without turning his head, and who was standing directly beside him-bore directly into his, as if reading his mind; he felt somewhat uneasy at the unwavering stare.
Gereval walked alongside his own horse, a pitch-black coat of hair to cover its body. Halrith almost took pity for the creature; how hot it must have been underneath that great, sun-absorbing coat. But the calm-paced water that ran to height of his knees brought a cool rush to his legs, and the mist coming of the river’s water cooled his face as well, nearly hiding the sweat that was soaking his cheeks and forehead.
Halrith’s own thick brown coat of wool, and his faded green tunic didn’t help in keeping the sun away, or the heat for that matter. Although the hat on his head brought a good deal of relief to his face, its brim wrapping all the way around and slightly curving up on the sides, almost coming to somewhat of a point at the front. Gereval was still unaware where he had found it at the last minute.
Halrith’s head snapped up as a colorful bird rustled the leaves up above his head, his heart pumping now nearly thrice as much as it had been. Everything had been making him jump since he had left the inn with Gereval. Who knew where the angry mob lay now, it not already disbanded and back to their normal lives of work. Halrith though as it was, was never the bravest men; for that matter he wasn’t brave at all-having had his biggest fear being of dogs-but he hoped from this experience that he would build some character, conquer is fears.
The birds, even though making him jump, brought comfort to him. Their elegant wings that could make up every color of the rainbow played tricks on the eyes, and Halrith would have to stop every time he caught glimpse of one; just so he could glimpse it a while longer.
Gereval hummed a tune softly to himself, observing the trees casually, they were nothing new to him, just sights he had been looking upon for some time. Nothing too extravagant to his eyes now, used to the great trees that stood thundering over them. None of it mattered to him all that much. All he cared about now was reaching the wall of Yatosuun, and getting around it too. That would be quite a challenge, unless they were able to come up with some good disguises for cheap in the city.
“Do you know how much longer it is to the wall?” Halrith called out from a little ways behind him.
“No, not yet. I might as we approach it though, I can recognize many areas that surround it.”
“Such as what?”
“Well…none that I can name off of the top of my head, but when I see them I’ll let you know. Don’t you fret.”
“Who says I’m fretting?”
“I guess it would only be me.”
“And what makes you say that I’m doing such?”
“The fact that you’ve asked me how much further to the wall at least two dozen times in the past half hour.”
“Do you suppose it would be unwise to ride the horses?”
“No, not at all. It was your idea in the first place to walk. You were afraid you’d fall and split your head open on a stone in the shallow creek, remember?”
Halrith stared at his boot; or the water really the boots were underneath.
“Yes, I do remember that now. Well I’m agreed no longer, let us ride at full speed.”
“A good plan, my legs are growing rather tired treading water this deep, for this long,” Gereval said, as he placed one foot in the stirrup and then swung his leg over the saddle, placing his right foot in the other one. “I’m ready to be out of this land, I’m more than sick of it.”
Halrith shrugged.
“I still think it’s one of the grandest cities in the world.”
“I think it would be Carron to be the grandest.”
“We all have our own opinions then.”
“We do.”
Halrith ducked as another bird took flight from an overhanging branch. Gereval laughed at the man’s tenseness.
“Quite you, I’m sure you’ve been scared of something that it made you jump.”
“I’m sure you’re right, but I can’t recall.”
Gereval suddenly reined his horse to a halt, staring ahead with a slight grin slowly spreading across his face.
“What is it?” Halrith asked.
Gereval pointed to what lay ahead.
“The wall,” he said.
Halrith nodded at the great stone structure, rising fifty feet into the air, banners waving from posts welded into the perfectly laid stones. Guard towers rose out every one hundred yards or so, and guards with shouldered pikes and bows slung over their backs marched back and forth.
“What now?” Halrith asked. “We need the horses, we can’t climb the wall then. I would rather risk the gate than leave these horses behind.”
“I agree. I’d rather be as far away as I can from this place, and that much closer to Faigh.”
“I wonder how Dimitry’s holding up. What changes has he done to improve the kingdom I wonder? How is Ezencarr doing to the new rule?”
“We’ll ask those questions later, for now we need a plan. A good one too. There had to be a good two-dozen guards around the gate, or within hearing rang of it. They’d come to the beckoning call and have is in shackles within minutes.”
“Ok then, what’s the plan?”
Gereval led the way, following the wall back towards the city, Halrith closely on his heels. They entered through a side street, and peeked out around what appeared to be an inn; three stories high.
“Six guards at the gate,” Gereval said as he then peered up and down the street. “Two there,” he muttered under his breath, placing them on his finger. “Three there. One hiding down that ally way. Yes I see you.”
“Well?”
Gereval blinked and looked at him.
“Well what?”
“How many guards? What’s our plan of action, if we even have one yet?”
“We? Apparently if “we” had a plan of action, you wouldn’t as me as to what it is. So more like, what’s my plan of action?”
“Yes, your plan of action.”
“We charge the gate, they can’t take us down if we race at them on a full gallop.”
“What about the guards on top of the wall…some of those men I saw have bows on them. Surely they’re trained as well.”
“Well of course they’re y trained, else they wouldn’t be up there.”
Halrith scratched his head and took a quick peek at the gate for himself.
“Well if we’re going to do this…lets do this,” Halrith said, shakiness edging as his voice.
Gereval patted him on the back.
“Be brave, my friend,” he said with a laugh.
They both climbed back up into their saddles, and took a deep breath.
“Lets do this!”
They each dug their heels into the horses, and took off down the stretch of road that lay a good twenty yards from the gate. It took a little bit before the guards looked up and saw them approaching.
“Halt!” One of the men said, all in red with ring mail covering his arms, the throne of Dylok stitched on their chest.
“Out of the way ya filthy-”
“Look out!” Halrith yelled as a spear was hurtled at his face.
They continued their charge down the street, the guards attempting to form a wall in front of the gate. Halrith braced himself, covering his face with his arms as he became within ten feet. He could feel the bodies bounce off of his horse as he plowed through. He opened his eyes again and looked at what lie ahead. Simple the dirt road that lead away from the city, and Gereval at his side.
“We did it!”
“Not yet, we did,” Gereval said, pointing to the archers who lined the wall now.
Halrith kept low, as did Gereval as dust was kicked up in the gallop. The whistling of the arrows rang in their ears. Halrith heard the arrow strike something, and peeked out to see it was Gereval’s arm.
“Ouch! Son of a bitch!” He said clenching the long sliver of wood that drove through the backside of his arm, and proceeded through the front.
But they weren’t intending on stopping yet, their horse continuing at that full speed. The city faded away as they entered the true forest of Dylok. Gereval groaned as he observed the wound.
“Don’t worry, we’ll get that just as soon as we get to Levill.”
“Levill?”
“A smaller city on the edge of Goldenhan, another hour’s ride from here. When the elves find out who we are, and know that we’re loyal supporters of King Boaz, I’m sure they’ll fix you up real good.”




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The following comments are for "The Calling: Book3: Chapter 1: Part 1"
by ArturHawking





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