Aderyn of the House of Dovan

Here aspiring creators can lay down some basic ideas of what they are going to do before submitting a finalized form for the viewing public. A good place to get some help from your fellows.
User avatar
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 1:36 am
Location: Narnia

Re: Aderyn of the House of Dovan

Post by Azizrian » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:42 pm

Elan – 2
The merc leaned against the wall near a row of market stalls and casually glanced down the street. Still no one stood out as an assassin or even scout. He stroked the hair he had been letting grow on his chin. There had been no sign of his pursuers in days. He had stayed on well-traveled roads to make his trail harder to pin down, kept moving late into the night and got started again early. His efforts seemed to be paying off.

Elan resumed his easy pace. Today, feeling comfortable enough with his lead, the merc would begin the next step of his plan in hopes of finding protection. He had been making his way northeast along the Mother’s Spine, but would be engaging a messenger for the next stage. The man had purloined a sheet of thick paper and an unattended stylus from some of the market stalls and scrawled a simple note:

Heard you got some good jobs recently.
Hoped I could call in that favor you owe.
Can pay my way.

His old friend had been leading his own band of mercs to the west, near the massive Czerno Forest. Last time they had spoken, just over a month prior, Raulin had intimated he had something really big coming. Elan might be able to get in on it and stick with his friend for a while, at least until he was out of danger. A careful traveler among equally careful travelers would make a difficult target.

The rest of the journey to the post house passed, as the merc expected, without incident. He contracted a messenger to travel ahead of him to a city just under Czerno’s eaves, to an inn where he and Raulin usually met. Elan himself would follow a more roundabout route, heading north to the coast and then circling southwest again to throw off his pursuers further. A messenger was a risk, but the merc palmed the office copy of the service contract as the clerk disappeared into the back room. With any luck, Elan was too far ahead to leave any footprints.

He made his way back to the inn. At first light, he would make for the coast. For the moment…

He signaled the bartender—beer and vittles—and settled into a corner table to listen for news. A few mundane conversations flitted past him but finally the words of a pair of weathered old-timers one table over caught his ear. They smelled of pipe smoke and the road and beer glistened in their beards.

“—and only then does she boot me outta bed!” The two friends cackled to each other and one clapped his comrade on the shoulder.

Man a-live, it’s good to see you!”

“And you, my friend. I see those woods have added a few more grey hairs.”

The first chuckled. “At my age, who’s counting? But yeah, they have. Roads have been a might unsafe of late. I got one more journey in me then I’m headed south.”

“Those wood nymphs finally proving to be more than you can handle?” He laughed but his friend looked serious.

“I don’t like what’s been going on up there. Fewer travelers and fewer patrols to keep the roads safe. We got a respite when Prince Jelani came of age, just a few years ago. But he was just killed on a hunt!”

What!?” The second man was visibly astonished, and Elan had to resist the impulse to lean forward as the old-timer lowered his voice to a whisper. “But even out here we’d heard of his skills as a warrior.”

His friend nodded sagely. “Perhaps you’ve heard of his arrogance as well? My bet is he was showing off for his friends.”

“Doing what? Wouldn’t the Greycloaks keep him from doing too much harm to himself? They’ve got special healers and all that, haven’t they?”

The first spoke directly into his friend’s ear, and Elan leaned forward to hear, using the plate of food that the innkeeper delivered as an excuse.

“They told us a boar got him,” the man whispered, “but the palace servants said the five or six Greycloaks that went with him haven’t been seen since then. Truth is, I don’t think it was a boar. I think they were attacked.”


“Would take a big group to deal with those Greycloaks, but it’s possible!”

The man’s friend shook his head. “You heard of the kingdom to the south that got taken out by a wyrm?”

“Yeah. Can’t believe it flew this far from the White Mountains.”

“Well, just short of a dragon, I can’t believe anything could get past those Greycloaks.”

“So a boar did it?”

The naysayer laughed. “Must have been a hell of a boar!”

“Either way, the region is going to be in turmoil for a while. The king is old and ill, and the only remaining heir, by his second wife, won’t be of age for years…”

“I am sick of this talk! Come on now, let me buy you another beer…”

Elan could feel something cold and strange in his gut, a feeling he usually associated with his intuition, but he could not define it yet. The merc finished his meal and went to bed, uneasy and eager to depart.
Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel...
Волков бояться, в лес не ходить

User avatar
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 1:36 am
Location: Narnia

Re: Aderyn of the House of Dovan

Post by Azizrian » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:44 pm

The week-long journey went better even than he had hoped. Heavy rains the day after Elan departed wiped out his trail and made the roads more difficult to travel. He arrived at the inn where he hoped to meet Raulin soaking wet and still haunted by the old travelers’ conversation, but almost cheerful.

Elan dragged off the oiled leather traveling cloak that kept him marginally dryer and looked around. No sign of Raulin’s distinctive platinum blonde ponytail—he might not have returned yet. The matter seemed settled when the innkeeper reported there were no messages for him, so the merc ordered a drink and settled in to wait.

He noticed the woman eying him from across the room, but struggled to remember her. As his eyes met her dark ones he saw the fear and grief in them. They looked almost wild as she stumbled across the room to sit with him.

An image flashed through Elan’s mind of her eyes, stern and confident, as she planted her hands on her full hips to scold his recklessness, with Raulin looking on, laughing…

“Aditi!” he gasped. One of Raulin’s lieutenants. A lump of lead dropped into his stomach. “What—”

“They’re gone,” she whispered through tears, collapsing into the chair across from him. “They’re all dead.”

Aditi’s hands shook as Elan took them in his. “What happened?”

The woman sniffed and shook the tears from her eyes. “We were contracted for a blind job. Good pay. We waited at the appointed location and took out the target. A hunting party.”

Elan felt his spine stiffen of its own accord and the strange feeling in his gut blossom. His mind raced and a set of logical points arranged themselves like a constellation in his mind—

“Who is going to kill you and how far behind are they?”

Aditi blinked, his question seeming to jerk her at least partly awake. “How did you…”

“My companions and I were contracted to make sure the entirety of a royal family was wiped out, and our employers sent assassins to silence us.”

Elan recognized the haze that settled once more over the woman’s eyes: resignation. “So there is no hope, then. We are both as good as dead.”

He found himself on his feet. “Not if I have anything to say about it,” Elan hissed. “And if you wish to simply roll over and die, then we shall see how eager the Winter Lady is to let you enter her realm. When you find yourself a wraith, begging for warmth, do not dare come begging for my mercy.” Aditi flushed, and that seemed a good sign. Before he turned to leave, the merc laid a hand on his former comrade’s shoulder. “The woman I knew was always a fighter,” he whispered.

Her expression shifted again; something still lived in the depths of her gaze. “Where are you headed?”

Elan shook his head. “It’s best you do not come with me. I have business to attend to.”

Aditi nodded, squeezed his hand, and then looked away, thoughtful.

It would have to do. Elan flipped the barkeep a coin as he passed and snatched his cloak from the stand by the door.

This must be how animals feel when they smell thunder, he thought. He had to find shelter from the storm, but he would need something to barter for safety. And Elan had something in mind.
Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel...
Волков бояться, в лес не ходить

Post Reply

Return to “The Construct”