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¡°Well, your answer?¡± Jonathan asked King Andrew.
¡°Jonathan I can¡¯t. I will not lend my men for a man who is out of his mind¡¯s own wishes.¡±
¡°But your majesty-¡±
¡°I said no! Leave it at that, and get out of my courts!¡±
¡°I¡¯m sorry that that is your decision.¡±
¡°Good bye Jonathan. You have been released from my services as of now.¡±
Jonathan¡¯s head hung low as he left the King¡¯s Hall. He walked back to the dormitories, looking out for his room. He knocked on the door, and found Karysa behind it.
¡°Jonathan¡what are you doing here, I thought you were speaking with the king?¡±
¡°It didn¡¯t go over to well, and now I¡¯m here to pack my belongings so that I may be on my way back to Goldenhan. At least I know that King Boaz is open to new ideas!¡±
Jonathan shoved his way past her to gather his few things that he had brought. With his arms full, he walked back out of the room, and started down the hall.
¡°Jonathan wait!¡± Karysa called from the doorway.
Jonathan stopped but didn¡¯t turn around. She ran to catch up with him.
¡°Where are you going?¡±
¡°So that I can find you when I go to look for you.¡±
Jonathan hesitated, a little surprised, but still he grinned.
¡°Maybe I can just come with you and I won¡¯t have to look for you,¡± she said.
¡°I don¡¯t know. Where I go, for the most part of recent, is battle. I¡¯m sure you don¡¯t want to follow me there.¡±
She looked at the ground for a second, almost offended by his words.
¡°I wish that you would stay here a little longer then, so I can at least get to know you a little better. All I ask is a week or two.¡±
¡°I¡I don¡¯t think that I could spare that much time right now. I need to get back to Grithendale.¡±
¡°What is Grithendale?¡± She asked.
¡°The city of the rebellion in Goldenhan.¡±
¡°The city of rebellion?¡± She repeated.
¡°It¡¯s a city that¡¯s trying to defeat the army of Dargon. I¡¯m general of their armies, which basically means I am general of Goldenhan¡¯s armies as well.¡±
¡°So it sounds like you¡¯re an important man, so then it would be selfish of me to try to keep you here when your men need you obviously a lot more than I do. I don¡¯t even know you.¡±
¡°Well, it¡¯s been nice knowing you for the short time that I did.¡±
Jonathan turned again and walked without looking back. Now I just need to find the others, wherever they are.
* * *
Jeffery sat at the rectangular oak table with Thomas directly across the table from him, and Haman at the head of it.
¡°It¡¯ll be nice seeing my mother again,¡± Jeffery said with great excitement.
¡°Yes, I¡¯d like to meet her as well,¡± Haman added.
Finally, as they had been waiting for a servant passed by them.
¡°Excuse me,¡± Jeffery said as she went to pass. ¡°I¡¯d like to see Mariyum Citile.¡±
The servant¡¯s face looked sad.
¡°I¡¯m sorry sir, but she¡¯s dead.¡±
Jeffery was stunned completely, nothing came to his moving mouth. After a minute he was able to ask how.
¡°Chancellor Fallyance hanged her for treason.¡±
¡°Treason? Treason? For treason!¡±
Jeffery drew his sword and kicked over the table.
¡°What are you going to do Jeff?¡±
Jeffery walked out of the house and down the street with Haman and Thomas closely on his heels.
¡°I¡¯ll show you treason,¡± they kept hearing him mutter under his breath.
Jeffery walked to the House of Chancellors, and blew threw the front door. He walked down the hall and found Chancellor Fallyance¡¯s door. He kicked it in and stormed in with his sword in hand. The man was rather startled in his chair as Jeffery walked up to his chair.
¡°Who are you and what do you want?¡±
¡°You want treason, here¡¯s your god damn treason!¡±
He ran his sword through Chancellor Fallyance through the chest. He took his sword out and ran it again through his neck, this time getting showered in a spray of blood. Again and again he ran it through, until it became obvious that he couldn¡¯t even hold his sword anymore. It fell to the floor with a loud clatter, as did Jeffery¡¯s exhausted body.
Thomas ran to catch him, but he was barely too late. Jeffery¡¯s body was shaking furiously as he sobbed.
¡°Mother! I¡¯m sorry!¡± He screamed as he lay there, curled up into a small ball.
Thomas and Haman did their best to comfort him.
* * *
¡°It¡¯s beautiful!¡± Hezreal exclaimed, as the three of them walked through the palace courts of Cloreshank.
¡°Yes it¡¡± Elaverin cut off abruptly as he saw that Hezreal¡¯s comment wasn¡¯t directed at the structure, but at a servant walking down the hall. ¡°Yes, it is.¡±
Master Brelim shook his head and laughed slightly under his breath at the boy¡¯s immaturity. But all the same it was still amusing to him. The grand entry hall was like a giant U-shape, the ceiling perfect circular curve, completely painted by famous artists of the past; laying out the stories that were now told as legend. Great circular columns of gold, silver and bronze all strung together with painting decorating them as well held up the great ceiling.
¡°Mast Brelim, young Elaverin, how good to see you two back in the kingdom!¡± The nobles of the courts would say as they passed by, and the guards would greet them more formally.
¡°You two sure are popular around here. Master Brelim, were you a High Mage at one time?¡±
Master Brelim chuckled.
¡°No, but I am brother to the King.¡±
¡°That would be him alright, my eldest brother.¡±
¡°And yet I see no resemblance,¡± Hezreal said, observing Master Brelim¡¯s face.
¡°I was gifted with the blocky features of my father, with my high cheek-bones, square jaw, straightly aligned teeth that seemed not to curve back into my mouth. Ah, and how could we forget my ever peering beady eyes, eh? But my brother on the other hand was truly gifted, with my mother¡¯s features. Every smooth and perfect you could say.¡±
¡°Never have I seen a man insult his own self-being so much. You seem to lack a self-esteem.¡±
¡°Nah. And anyways, I prefer wit over looks any day. I¡¯m ten times wiser than my brother, and I¡¯m more than satisfied and happy with that.¡±
¡°And this,¡± Elaverin said cutting into the two, ¡°is where Master Brelim and I trained. His study!¡±
They walked through a rounded oak door, turning the brass handle, and into the library-like room. Books lined shelves; a chandelier of extraordinary radiance gleamed and sparkled from the sun of the long, pointed windows reflecting the crystal of it.
There was a desk up near against one of the story-high shelves with half a dozen thick leather-bound volumes, with heavy guilt on their spines; they had clearly been opened and reopened again an again. From most of their titles, they obviously had something to do with scepters one way or the other, but Hezreal also noticed that one of them had something referring to the Scrolls of Life in their title.
He scratched his head and pondered it for a brief moment before Elaverin called him away, exclaiming they were to go and view the next room.
* * *
¡°So you understand the rules of the sword tournament?¡± The official who was in charge of registration questioned the two elves; De¡¯Bol and Herin.
¡°We do,¡± Herin replied.
¡°And you?¡± The official pointed to De¡¯Bol, who answered with a brief nod.
¡°Good. Then if I could see some form of nobility, I can enter your names into the Tournament.¡±
They presented what was called and known to the elves of Skirts of Nobility, which simply a cloth the size of a kerchief, that had on it the crest of their family.
¡°Good, very good,¡± the official said as he looked over them deeply. ¡°Herin Stroht, son of Brevhim Stroht, son of Dolsam Stroht; a very impressive line of men you come from Herin of Brevhim. And I see that you yourself were a soldier for the country too. By chance a general yourself?¡±
¡°No, not anymore. I used to be until I began to travel the trails of the Tournaments.¡±
¡°And De¡¯Bol Cobber, I see that your mother was Marim Stroht, sister to Brevhim.¡±
¡°Does that make you and Herin related?¡±
¡°Cousins. Well, each of you have a quite a family line of nobles and generals and the sort, and I wouldn¡¯t be surprised one bit if either of you win this Tournament. You both have quite a winning streak for yourselves.¡±
¡°Thank you,¡± they both said, all smiles.
¡°Well, good luck to you, though it¡¯ll be the other men who¡¯ll be needing it.¡±
¡°Thanks again,¡± they said as they walked off.
¡°You know, if only everyone was as cheerful as that man, this world would be so much easier to cope with, you know?¡±
¡°I know. So, what d¡¯ya say we go have ourselves a drink before we begin, the sun¡¯s so hot and my throat¡¯s so dry?¡±
¡°I suppose I could go for one, as long as it doesn¡¯t take too long.¡±
¡°I¡¯m sure it won¡¯t.¡±
The two walked into a tavern and went and took a seat down at the bar.
¡°Two beers,¡± Herin called.
They were brought to mugs full to the brim with froth.
¡°That¡¯ll be a silver piece for each one,¡± the bartender told them.
Herin grabbed for his coin purse and gasped.
¡°I¡¯ve been robbed! Some pickpocket caught me with my guard down. Probably while I was completely absorbed in receiving those compliments from the official!¡±
¡°Well, we can file a report about it, but I¡¯m sure that it wouldn¡¯t do us any good. For now though, I¡¯ll cover for the drinks.¡±
¡°Excuse me,¡± said a man who took a seat next to them. ¡°But I can¡¯t help but overhear your situation, and having been pick pocketed a few times myself, I¡¯d like to help you too. I myself am a professional at finding and apprehending pickpockets, and for a small fee can help you two by finding who it was who stole your money.¡±
¡°For how much?¡± Herin asked.
¡°Just as little as four silver pieces; no more, no less.¡±
De¡¯Bol and Herin eyed him curiously, looking for faults or lies in his eyes, but they found none.
¡°Alright sure,¡± said De¡¯Bol handing him the money.
¡°The name¡¯s Khoring, and I got no last name, the only name¡¯s Khoring. Address me as that and nothin¡¯ else cause I don¡¯t got nothin¡¯ else.¡±
¡°Okay Mr. Khoring, whatþu¡±
¡°Ah ah ah, see you¡¯re already adding to my name, which is simply Khoring.¡±
¡°Fine, Khoring. What should we do now, and how do we find you again?¡±
¡°You meet me back here in this very tavern tonight at the clock of ten. I¡¯ll give you everything I¡¯ll have found out about your purse for you. And you¡¯ll most likely have it back by tomorrow night, at our next meeting afterward.¡±
¡°Just know Khoring, if you¡¯re not here tonight, we will hunt you down and gut you like a fish. You hear me?¡±
¡°Last I checked my hearing was still in tact.¡±
¡°Just don¡¯t try anything stupid.¡±
¡°I¡¯m a very spontaneous man, I do many stupid things whether people like it or not, so make no promises.¡±
¡°Except that you¡¯ll find my coin purse.¡±
¡°That I do promise.¡±
The two parted from the tavern and the man named Khoring, whom both De¡¯Bol and Herin agreed on as being the most bizarre man they had ever made acquaintance to. They walked down the narrow and unpopular street that was the back entrance to the Tournament, specifically for and limited to only the contestants of the event. The fans were granted the large main streets to make their way however they wanted to in order to enter the small coliseum. Although it was probably only a tenth the size of that in Verdammar, it always seemed bigger for it was always completely full, down to the last seat.
¡°The adrenaline is already rushing through my blood. I have been away from this excitement for far too long,¡± De¡¯Bol said with a smile as he polished his sword with a grease-stained cloth, covered in black blotches.
¡°I know, I too am rather excited.¡±
They walked to the small courtyard-like arena where the men dueled with their swords. A completely wraparound balcony that stood three stories high for the crowd to stand on and peer over the edge surrounded the perfectly square and fenced in area of where swords clashed.
There was another small table where an official sat with a schedule opened in front of him.
¡°Excuse me,¡± Herin called as they approached.
¡°Where are we placed to compete?¡±
¡°Herin Stroht and De¡¯Bol Cobber.¡±
¡°Sir Herin, you¡¯ll have the first match with a Sir Resniach, and Sir De¡¯Bol, you¡¯ll have a later match in the third round of today with a Sir Con.¡±
¡°Great thank you.¡±
¡°That means, Sir Stroht that you should probably stay around the area, because that first round and match is to begin here in no more than fifteen minutes. I advise you, if you are planning on going somewhere, to avoid the street, for it would be a shame to get wrapped up in the great crowds and miss your match.¡±
¡°I¡¯ll stay put right here where I am then.¡±
¡°A wise decision.¡±
The fifteen minutes passed shortly, and Herin entered into the small ring. The judge walked in and stood in the middle, with Herin¡¯s foe named Sir Resniach awaiting on the other side. Herin observed he was using a long sword, wielded with both hands. To Herin, this meant an advantage, because now he had the speed on him.
¡°I assume each contestant knows the rules?¡± The official questioned.
¡°Aye,¡± came the response.
¡°Then on my mark, you may proceed with the match.¡±
He held up a flag, as it blew in the wind, the noise whipping and matching a sound of a pop. It stayed there, Herin switching glances from the flag to his opponent, so threatening in his glimmering armor, and his helm that hid his face down to his narrowed eyes, like Herin¡¯s, who were squinted as he shielded the reflection of the sun from the man¡¯s outfit. The man¡¯s expression was fearless. Herin laughed to himself. So were all the other I¡¯ve defeated.