Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chapter Five


 
I slid behind a coil of rope as a crewmember passed by, and let out a small breath of relief when he failed to notice me. This ship is incredible, I thought, as I crawled through the ropes and crates on the deck, attempting to take in every detail of the ship--from the cracks in the floor to the spot on the deck that wasn’t swabbed quite well enough. There wasn’t much on the ship, at least on the top deck. Aside from cargo and the two masts, the deck appeared quite empty. A seat stood near the stern, crafted from plain wood. I crept to it, ducking behind some crates to avoid unwanted attention. The chair was well refined and obviously crafted by a skilled carpenter. I examined it curiously, trying to conceive a purpose for having such a nice chair in the middle of the deck. How does it stay put during storms? I wondered and tested the stability of the chair. To my surprise, it did not budge. I pulled again, and I, once again, found it quite immovable. I looked closely at the feet of the chair, and saw that iron bolts held it to the wooden boards of the deck. Next to the chair, a small table stood. Colorful contents on the table drew my eye and my curiosity became suddenly irrepressible. I would have no cover if I looked at it, I thought to myself; however, the desire to see the objects on the table overwhelmed me. I waited until all of the crew had left the main deck, cautiously watching the area in front of the chair that led to the lower deck.

 

The objects on the table were very simple: a knife, a cup (holding a foul smelling liquid that I presumed to be ale), and a map. I disregarded the first two items and ran my eyes over the map. It boasted the large and colorful picture of a very curious island. The island was slightly rounded on the left and right sides, and flat on the top. At the bottom of it, a peninsula jutted out, labeled Fellon Ford. Hang on a minute, I thought and searched the edges for a name. Sure enough, on the edge of the paper there was an inscription in deep red. Adalia, I thought, silently reading the title. I had made maps in the past, endeavoring to guess what the island on which I dwelled looked like as a whole. However, I had never imagined this.

 

I did know that a very interesting trade system took place in Adalia. There were not many resources in one particular location; they were quite sporadic. Each province had its own special resource to offer the rest of the island, something that the other villages lacked. Winwillow had a great abundance of trees, thus it supplied the island with wood. The Farmlands were fairly self-explanatory; their province consisted entirely of farms. Now, other provinces had farms, but the Farmlands WERE farms. They had a great variety of food (sheep and wheat mostly) and would trade that food to the rest of the island. Aside from that, though, they kept to themselves. Crimera had many varieties of metals to boast of, such as steel, iron, silver, gold, bronze, and an abundance of other valuable items. I began looking at the right side of the map when I felt a hand grab my shoulder.

 

“What are you doing here?” A loud shrill voice asked. I groaned and turned so that I was facing Clown (who indeed it was) and I could see that he was clearly not happy. “You are not supposed to be on this ship unless you are crew or with command staff!”

“It wasn’t my choice to come here,” I retorted and started walking towards the front of the ship. Even in my annoyance, I noticed that it was oddly shaped, as a big spike curved and sloped into the water. The Mermaid carved on the front was painted in bright colors, with blonde hair and a blue tail.

 

“You must come with me!” declared Clown, approaching me at the stern. I jumped on the ledge and started dancing around the horn. Clown tried to grab me and pull me off of the ledge, but every time he reached his hands out I would swing to the other side of horn, thus successfully avoiding his grasp. “Get down here boy! Or I’ll-“

 

“You’ll what? Grab me?” I taunted and continued to evade him. Clown became very frustrated and jumped up onto the ledge with me. He grabbed my tunic and started to tug roughly on the hem. I had never liked Clown in the first place, but I REALLY didn’t like him ordering me around. Clown pulled hard, but I refused to let go of the horn. Suddenly out of nowhere a big red object appeared in the air, flying quickly towards us, and hit Clown in the head, knocking him into the water. I looked in the direction the object had made its dramatic entrance from, and I saw that Clown and I had managed to collect a crowd. This was not the crew I had seen earlier; these men appeared to be movers for the supplies. One of the men slid a crate of apples behind him, trying to conceal the objects used to perform the recent felony. I anticipated Clown’s arrival to the top of the water, his gasping for air and aggravating screams for assistance. But he never surfaced. I stared at the water in perplexity, wondering what course of action to follow. I looked back at the group, expecting them to do something, but to my surprise, they remained perfectly still.

 

“Aren’t you going to help him?” I asked, staring dumbfounded at them.

 

“We didn’t like him much anyways,” one in front said with a gruff voice, as a murmur of agreement grew from the rest of the crowd.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “He is going to drown!” I yelled, looking back at the water.

 

“If you want to save him so much; you go in after him!” yelled a small and stocky man.

 

I stared at the water that a moment ago appeared beautiful, and now suddenly seemed dark, sinister, and cold. “I can’t swim,” I mumbled, captured by the thought.

 

“Do you hear that lads? He doesn’t know how to swim!” They all laughed in approval and jeered at me. My anger started to overwhelm me, and I threw off my jerkin and boots and bent my legs. In glancing over my shoulder a final time, I saw a man dressed in brown walking onto the deck. I pushed off with my legs and fell into the icy water.

 

 

My body became suddenly rigid as I hit the water and plunged beneath the surface. It was cold, very cold. I floated for a bit, trying to get used to the sting of the salt water in my eyes. I finally opened my eyes and looked around. Momentarily forgetting about the cold, I gawked at my surroundings. The water was blue and clear. I saw the boat, with three quarters of the hull under the surface. On the front end, where the spike protruded into the water, I could see that it slanted down, creating a large bronze bar that stuck out about five feet in front of the main frame. A ram, I thought to myself, now thoroughly convinced that this ship was truly fantastic. I was about to examine it more closely when I recalled the reason that I was down here. I looked around and saw that Clown’s jerkin had snagged on a nail that stuck out of the wood on the dock, leaving him hanging there. Now came the real challenge. I had read about swimming, and had always longed to try it; however, Winwillow had no ocean or large enough lakes for me to actually swim in. I was not entirely certain that I could pull it off. I knew Clown was running out of time, and I was beginning to have trouble clinging to the precious bit of air remaining in my lungs. Hardening my heart, I started moving my legs the way the book I had read said to do. I moved a bit in the water due to the sudden movement, trying to make my way to the pillar of the dock in order to climb down. I managed to kick and flail my way over to it, and I clung on with all of my strength.

 

 

I inched down the pillar until I reached Clown. I grabbed his body and slung it over my shoulder, cursing myself for not bringing a rope. As I climbed, his dead weight dragged heavily on my shoulders; I tried, without much success, to figure out how this skinny man could be so heavy. Struggling for air, I managed to slowly claw my way up the pole. I was near the top when a wave hit me and slammed me against the post, knocking all my remaining air out of my lungs. I faltered, trying to breathe, but having no air to do so. Looking up and seeing the light coming through the water, a new sense of urgency came over me. I yanked at the pole, desperately trying to reach the surface. My hand broke the surface for just a moment, and, in that second, I realized that I was completely fed up with this struggle. Despite the splinters in my hands, and the black spots that started to gather in my eyes, I gave one final heave and managed to shove Clown onto the dock. With the little strength I had left, I grabbed the edge of the dock and soon joined Clown, sprawled out on the wood. I gasped for air, but found I had water in my lungs. My vision started to blur, and I vaguely remember a great group gathering around Clown and I, a shoving on my chest, so and then a warm touch on my mouth that on my mouth that sent hot breath streaming into my throat. You have got to get out of the habit of doing this, I thought to myself. I stopped fighting for consciousness and slipped into yet another dream world.

 

I woke to find myself in a very familiar situation. I was in the same bed in the same room. This time, when I sprung out of bed, I stumbled. I felt very light headed, and my legs were very weak. A few of the side effects of almost drowning I guess. I thought to myself. I grabbed my jerkin (which was at the foot of my bed this time), slipped on my boots, and made for the door. I grabbed the handle and turned it. Stepping out, I started to make my way to the large grey doors, wondering if that was all just a dream, when I bumped into a man with brown hair and a staff in his hands. On my second glance I saw that he was not truly a man, but simply a boy older than me, 20- 22 was my guess at his age. Still, he was much taller than me. I stood awkwardly for a moment and then tried to pass.

 

“You are in detention, I can’t let you out, or anyone in” the boy with the staff spoke. “You’re just going to have wait here until you are called for.”

 

“What?” I wondered at this sudden occurrence. I just saved Clowns life, and they treat me like this? I considered that statement for a moment, and then realized that might be the very reason that they were apparently holding me as a prisoner. I gave the boy a sharp glance, not feeling like I could match him in a fight in this state, and walked reluctantly back into my room. The door shut and locked behind me. After about an hour in my homey little prison, during which I sat and did nothing more than contemplate my imprisonment, the door unlatched and May stepped into the room carrying a plate of food.

 

“You’ve no idea how glad I am to see you!” I exclaimed, jumping up and stumbling yet again. She nodded and put her finger to her lips. I realized that the guard outside must be asleep, so I tiptoed to the door and, after directing May through, quietly pulled it shut. She walked over to the bed and set the tray down, making sure not to spill anything.

 

“How are you feeling?” she asked, grabbing some plates and spreading food onto them.

 

“Like someone has been dancing on my chest,” I replied, taking a seat next to her. She passed me a plate, and we both started eating. After my recent adventures, my appetite had practically disappeared, but I really didn’t want to appear rude. We sat silently for a moment, both lost in our own thoughts. I swallowed a mouth full of fish with great difficulty, so I tried to change the subject. “So, what have you been up to of late?” She thought for a moment before answering.

 

“Not much really.” She replied, still pondering the question. “Apart from you and Clown, not many people have needed medical attention lately, so I’ve had quite a bit of free time.”

 

“You’re a healer?” I asked in surprise. I had never really interacted much with healers of any sort back in Winwillow, but I was fairly certain that, in order to be a healer, you had to be slightly older than May.

 

“Yes, I am.” She said laughing at my reaction. There was a pause, and I’m not sure why but I started to rack my brains for more questions, trying desperately to keep the conversation going.

 

“What do you like to do in your spare time?” I asked, complimenting my brilliance for thinking of something to ask.

 

“Well, I like to hike, play the lyre, and run in the plains around Fellon Ford whenever I get a chance,” she said, thinking. She seemed to have this habit of making faces while she was thinking. I glanced over at her trying to keep a straight face, but I couldn’t help laughing as she put her mouth to the side, pursing her lips. She gave me a questioning glance, and I shook my head, saying it was nothing. Suddenly there was a rustling outside, and we both fell silent.

 

“I have to leave now, I’m planning to rehearse a new lyre piece with some of the other musicians in the fort,” she whispered, rising from the bed. I scraped all of the remaining food onto one plate and handed her the tray. I squeezed her hand in a silent thank you, after which she smiled and left. I lay down again on the bed, feeling light headed again and happier than I had been. Sleep soon had pressing plans with me, though, and I passed out the minute I closed my eyes. I woke up feeling much better than I had earlier, but still not very hungry. I stood up and combed my hair in the mirror. I had just sat down again when I heard the door unlatch, and saw two soldiers and Clown walk in. I marveled at how he had been under the water longer then I was, and he only looked a bit pale.

 

“You will now come to your appointment with General Jaren!” He declared his voice a bit more shrill than normal. I was still far too tired and confused to care, so I got out of bed and followed him out the door.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chapter four





 
We rode along the plains at a slow pace, Crossing creeks and grassy plains. It was a hot day out, and bugs were flying around our heads. I took off my cloak and rubbed my forehead. The trees started to get scarce as we went on, and soon they were gone all together.  The full fury of the sun was on us, beating down like drum. I looked at the plains around me; they were lush and green with flowers and bugs everywhere. My gaze came to the girl in front of me, she was about seventeen years old, her black hair fell loose around her shoulders.

“Thanks again for getting us out of that jam” I said to her trying to keep a respectful distance and stay on the saddle at the same time.

“Any time” she said looking back at me. Her brown eyes shone in the light “We are always happy to help people escape from Meldon, and now if Jaren says you can stay you will be part of the team.”

“Jaren” I asked leaning forward “Who is that?”

“He is the leader of the Rebellion” she said looking forward “If he says you can stay, then you are in. but he has an odd way of letting people into the rebellion.”

“What do you mean?”

“You can never predict him; he will take one look at you and decide what happens. It’s amazing! He has found so many spies that have tried to get into the rebellion. He just sees them and bam! Points them out as spies, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“He sounds pretty interesting.” I said wiping sweat off my brow. “What do you think he will say about us?”

 

“I told you, no one can predict him” she said looking back at me “But I think he will let you stay”

“I hope so” I said staring back at her “If he doesn’t, we will have nowhere else to go”

“I’m sure it will be fine” I paused for a while taking in what I had just heard.

“How did you know those troops would be there?” I asked turning to May again. “You just popped up.” May turned to me with a puzzled look on her face.

“We have been following that group of soldiers for two days” I got a chill down my back and froze.

“Two days?” I asked again growing scared

“Yes, two days. Why? What’s wrong?”

   “We need to stop” I stuttered “Stop!” I cried and the three horses in front of my slowed and turned around. I jumped off of May’s horse and ran to Octavian. 

“Why are you making us stop?” Octavian asked “We need to get back before sunset, or we will be trapped outside the city.”

“Those soldiers that you saved us from, you had been following them for two days?”

“Yes, and it’s a good thing we did otherwise you would be dead.”

“Then I think we have a serious problem” I said, and was about to continue when I heard a rumble from behind me, A cloud of dust was billowing high up into the air. “I think there might be more” I finished quietly

“Everyone, the gate is just over this hill, Run for it!” Octavian cried and slapped his horse into action. The other riders slapped their horses and started to gallop. May rode up to me. “Climb on!” she said and offered me her hand. I grabbed it and swung on. We ran along the road with the enemy closing in behind us. I felt the horse bump up and down under me. Slowly May’s steed got closer and closer to the Soldiers, and further and further from the group of rebels. I noticed the difference in the distances just as the horse started to falter. I realized we would never reach the wall in time. There was too much weight on the horse; it couldn’t handle it much longer. Suddenly it hit me, and I knew what I needed to do. I grabbed my quiver and my bow. I took a deep breath.

“Huzzah !” I cried and threw myself off of the horse. I crashed to the ground, and jumping to my feet I started to prepare myself. May pulled her horse to a stop.

“What are you doing?” she cried looking at the soldiers “Get on!”

“You will never make back it if I am riding with you” I said over my shoulder. Then I turned and slapped the back end of the horse and she took off towards the wall. I turned and looked at the approaching enemy. I had a plan, but I knew in my mind it was a horrible one. I drew and arrow and notched it to the string. There was one rider that had pulled ahead of the others, so I took aim and shot just as he reached me. The soldier fell to the ground and I jumped on the now vacant horse. I snapped the rains and the horse surged forward. I now understood why the previous rider had pulled ahead of the other soldiers; this horse had a massive speed range. Every time the soldiers seemed to get close to me, I would snap the rains and the horse would put out another burst of speed.

“Do not let him escape!” the lead soldier cried and pressed his horse hard to catch me. I had almost reached the wall; it was thirty feet tall with lots of spears up the sides to prevent it from being scaled. I glanced behind me and saw another rider pulling to the front of the rest, a rider that brandished a bow. I cursed to myself and leaned down in the saddle in hopes of avoiding being shot. I was about forty yard away from the gate now. I spotted Octavian standing at the wheel holding the gate up until I could get through. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something shiny on the horses bridle. I looked more closely at it and through the bumps and rock flying up at my face; I was able to make out a name. Quickbeam I thought that is a good name. Suddenly an arrow came screaming over my head and stuck into the ground. I was only twenty feet away now, looking back, I saw the archer draw another arrow.

“Well Quickbeam” I said to the horse “let’s see what you’ve got.” I drew my dagger and poked him in the rear end. He screams and surged forward. I thought I was going fast a little bit ago, I was very wrong. Quickbeam shot forward faster than an arrow and ran under the gate. Octavian let go of the wheel and the gate came thundering down. The guards shut the doors behind the gate preventing the soldiers riding outside the gate from shooting arrows at us. I slid off the horse and stumbled because of my sore legs. Colleen came rushing over to me wrapping me in a tight hug.  

“Don’t you go dying on me that Easley” she said I did my best to hug her back, but had difficulty because I had to use one hand to keep myself standing. She let go and I tuned to the group of rebels. They were all beaming with approval (save William, who looked at me like it was a crime for living) I grinned back and managed to stand without the support of the horse.

“So this is Fellon Ford!” I exclaimed looking around “It’s a nice place!....I hope it was worth the hassle of getting here.” Then I collapsed on the ground and blacked out from exhaustion.

I woke up in a soft bed in a small room. It didn’t have any lamps or windows, but somehow there was a soft white light about the room.  It had a small fire place and was very homey. I heard the door start to creek open, so I quickly lay down in my bed again. I heard someone walk into the room and set a tray down beside my bed. I glanced over my shoulder and saw someone with long black hair walk out of the door, but I missed their face. I climbed out of bed and realized I had no shirt on. I looked around for my tunic, but it was nowhere to be found. Feeling dismayed, I scanned the room for anything that might help. There was a chair in the corner of the room with a tunic thrown over the back. I walked over to it and pulled it off. It was plain green with gold around the fringes. I shrugged and pulled it over my head, it was a good fit, and it was also better than walking around without one. I slipped my feet into the soft leather boots that were sitting at the feet of the chair. I turned to the tray that the unknown guest had brought in. It had some rolls, a plate of fish, and a mug of water. I grabbed a roll and the mug and ate them hungrily, thankful for the food that I had lacked for quite a while. I walked over to the door and reached for the handle, but then I hesitated. What could be on the other side? I wondered. I didn’t know where I was, how I got there, and who might be on the other side. In the end, Curiosity got the best of me and I turned the handle and walked out. 

 

I found myself in a long hall way with doors all along the sides.  All of the doors were plain brown, stretching down the hall. I walked down the hall and came to a big grey door. Day light streamed from the crack under the door. I heaved it open and walked out. I stood in front of a large brown building with great stone arches over it. I looked around the yard that was in front of me. There were lots of people running around and a man with a big hat calling out orders. He spotted me, and motioned for me to come to him. I was still in shock at the whole situation, so I walked up and stood where he had directed.  

“What are you doing just standing around?” He asked looking at his list “why aren’t you with your group?” He had a very high pitched voice, and was rather skinny.

“Um…I don’t know what you are talking about” I said, feeling the statement just made was very accurate.

“What do you mean you don’t know what I’m talking about? Everyone has a group!” He cried looking over his papers “What is your name boy?”

“Killian” I replied trying to show a little pride. I didn’t like being ordered around by this man in the hat that made him look like a Jester. While these thoughts were going through my head, he was searching his through his notes.

“Killian….Killian….I don’t see any Killian on here…..Oh wait, you are that new guy. You have an appointment with General Jaren at eleven.”

“I what?” I asked feeling at a loss for words “I really have no idea what you are talking about” The Jester man was about to make a retort when I heard a call from behind me

“Killian” the voice said again I turned and saw autumn running towards me. “There you are!” she said catching her breath “I’ve been looking all over for you!” 

“Have you?” I asked startled at her arrival “what for?”

“It’s my job to give you a tour of the base until you go to your meeting” she replied and looked over at the jester man “I’ve got him now Clown, you can go”

“I will” he said raising his chin and turning around “Try to teach him some manners while you are at it!” He walked away, or waddled rather, to handle other things.

“It’s nice to see a familiar face” I said turning to Autumn “Who was the Clown?”

“That is precisely who it is” She said toying with her hair “Clown. He makes sure everyone is in their groups”

“Oh. What groups are you talking about?”

“Come on and I’ll show you” she said and grabbed my hand and pulled along. We walked along the stone wall, with people rushing by us with lots of things to do. We came to a large tower with a large spiral stairway. We started climbing up them and after tripping quite a few times, we reached the top. It was windy and there was a salty smell in the air. I gave the air a second whiff and laughed out loud. I had never smelled the sea before, but I was enticed by boats and read much about the ocean and its wonders.

“This is the base for the Rebellion” Autumn pointed out to the stuff over the balcony. It was a beautiful place to behold. There were large buildings and towers, houses and castles. What really caught my eye though, were the docks at the water’s edge. I stood open mouthed at the wonder this all brought. 

“Come on, I’ll show it all to you up close.” We ran down the stairs and came out into the street.

“Can we see the docks?” I asked unable to contain my excitement.

“We will get there” she replied “but we have two other places to go first.”  We walked over to a big building with large doors. Inside there were lots of archery targets, sword dummy’s, and tomahawk logs. Lots of people were practicing at each station, pegging the targets and slicing the dummies to pieces. I winced when my eyes ran over the sword fighters. Unfortunately Autumn noticed the sudden flinch.

“Are you alright?” she asked turning to me. “You feel sick or something?”

I quickly regained my composure “Yes, I’m fine. I just…I just had a memory, that’s all.” She gave me a questioning look, then she dismissed it and we walked out of the training range, with the memory of the swords man slicing the straw dummy to pieces. We moved onto the crafting part of the camp and I looked at the beautiful art work of many crafts. There were beautiful tapestries, fantastic wood work, and strong weapons.

“These are beautiful” I said running my hand down the soft fabric of a golden tapestry. “Who makes them?”

“Whoever can” she said looking over my shoulder “We can’t afford to be picky in the rebellion because of our shortage of people, so whoever has the skill typically is put to use.” She touched a dark green fabric admiring the crafting of it. “Come on, let go see the black smith shop” I would have liked to keep looking at the mesmerizing cloth, but she pulled on my hand, and I felt inclined to let her lead the tour. After all, she was the tour guide.

We jogged over the black smith shop, feeling the heat increase as we approached. There was a young man hammering away at a slab of metal. He lifted it up looking at it skeptically, then turned and dunked it in a tub of water. Steam billowed up for a moment, and then subsided. He noticed us approaching and set the piece of metal down. He was sweating through his thin white shirt and had shaggy dark brown hair, which he continually seemed to push off of his forehead.

“Killian, this is Lawrence. He is our main black smith. He has quit a bit of experience in that area.” I stuck out my hand and clasped his. It was very ruff from his work.

“Nice to meet you.” I said smiling

“Good to meet you to” he said in a small quiet voice. His voice startled me quite a bit, he was very broad and seemed like he would have a very deep voice

“Killian is new here, and I’m showing him around” Autumn said smiling. Just then a messenger ran up to her and whispered a quick few words in her ear. She frowned, but nodded and the messenger dashed off.

“Check that, I am due to teach swords class. Lawrence, finish showing him around the shop and then bring him to Hunnimire at the docks.” 

“Sounds good” Lawrence replied startled by the request

“I’ll see you later Killian, don’t destroy the docks, ok?” she gave me a quick hug and ran off. I stood a bit awkwardly in front of Lawrence.

“Well….want to look around?” He asked glancing back at his shop

“Oh yes! Sorry, lead the way” the journey through the black smith shop was rather uneventful; it was hot and crowded inside, and soon I had pulled off my tunic and sweat through my under shirt. As Lawrence showed me around, I tried to avoid looking at the flashing swords that were hanging on the wall. What I did look at however, was the bows. They were fantastic pieces of craftsmanship, very straight and strong. After he finished, we stepped out into the cool air and I pulled my tunic back on. Without a word Lawrence turned in the direction of the docks and started walking towards them. I walked after him; Wishing Autumn was still leading the tour, she was much more interesting than this quiet black smith. We got closer to the docks and I started to catch whiffs of the ocean. In my growing excitement I picked up my pace. Just as we got to the entrance to the docks, a messenger ran up to Lawrence, quickly whispered his message and bolted off.

“I am being called back. Apparently someone got themselves stuck in a sword rack. Here is the entrance to the docks, look for a man named Hunnimire.” He started to walk away

“Thank you” I said to Lawrence. He turned, nodded, and ran off towards his shop. I turned to the entrance and took a deep breath. Here comes the sea I thought and my excitement sent me rushing through the gates.

There were lots of shops and small boats around the dockyard. I walked around briskly, feeling new and refreshed. I looked at all of the people around the dockyard; there were all shapes and sizes. Short, tall, fat, skinny, but all of them looked sharp in their uniforms. Then I came to the edge of the water, and I dropped on one knee. I cupped my hand and scooped up some water. I raised my hand to my lips and sipped the cool water. It was smooth but salty and it made my taste buds leap for joy. I had once tried to recreate the taste of sea back in my house in Winwillow by mixing salt and water. It was nothing like the thing I tasted now. There was a special thing about it, something that you couldn’t find anywhere else. I spat it out, knowing not to swallow such water and laughed allowed. Then I noticed the things around me and it all made my Jaw drop. There were great ships, with tall masts and wooden sides. There was a wooden platform layout over the water, where each ship had there port to go into. It was far enough out on the water that they didn’t wreck themselves on the reef below.

 I stared at them, my eyes wide. I ran along it scanning with my eyes over the sides of the ships, taking in every detail. Down the center of the platforms, I noticed something that dazzled me more than anything else had so far. A large, but low ship sat in the water, with Scarlet sails and brown sides. On the front was the carving of a mermaid, and on the side there were letters in bright gold. The ruddy bandit my keen eyes read from afar. That’s a nice ship I thought to myself, captured by its beauty. Suddenly by some almost unnatural force, my feet started moving towards the ship. I got to the board for loading supplies on board the ship and looked around. I probably wasn’t supposed to go on to the boat, but temptation got the better of me and I climbed the board and crept onto the deck.            

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chapter Three


Chapter three

 

   My eyes flipped open. I lifted my head and looked around. The fire had gone out and it was about four in the morning by my judging. I sat up and grabbed my bota bag. Raising it to my lips I drank heavily. It felt good to have water in my throat again. I got up and stretched my aching limb; I wasn’t used to this out doors sleeping.  I sat down, making sure not to wake Colleen up. I grabbed some bread from my satchel and started munching on it. I thought about what we might have to do when we get to Fellon ford and other things when a thought hit me. What woke me up I wonder? I started to string my bow. Suddenly the horse bolted, and from the bushes men broke out with spears and sword. Sword! It sent a shiver down my back. But I shook the feeling off and drew my dagger.

 There were fifteen men, all heavily armed, and baring the mark of Meldon.  I used the trees for cover and engaged a soldier with a spear. He stabbed at my gut, but I managed to dodge and grab the shaft. I knocked it to the ground. Stabbing the man in the chest with my dagger, He gave a cry and fell. Two more Soldiers engaged me, so I jumped over one of their swords and grabbed my bow and a quiver. I swung the quiver on and drew two arrows. Spinning around, I took aim and shot. The arrows hit two soldiers in the chests with a loud thud. They fell to the ground. I drew another arrow and turned around to where the other soldiers stood. I saw the last thing I wanted to see. The other twelve soldiers were standing in a group and one of them (who seemed to be the leader) had a knife at Colleen’s throat.

“Put your weapons down!” He said in a gruff voice “or the little girl gets it.” I stood there with my bow drawn back, battling myself inside. I could most likely hit the leader. I thought but they would be on me in a second. I would also have to risk hitting Colleen, which was not a favorable option. My arms grew sore and started to tremble. I made my choice. I shot my arrow into the ground and threw down my bow. The soldiers rushed forward and took my weapons. Then I felt something hard hit the back of my head, and I blacked out.

 

I started awake and looked around. I was tied to a tree along with Colleen. The soldiers were going through our gear, and taking anything they wanted. The rest they were throwing into a pile next to the fire.

“Colleen” I whispered “are you alright?”

“Yes she answered “how do we escape?”

“Working on it.” I said as I looked around for an escape route. Then a soldier threw a little pot, (that I was quite fond of) and it smashed on the ground. I turned as much as the tree would allow me to, and starched my feet out for it. I had just brushed the edge when a foot came hard on my stomach. I gasped and tried to get air. Looking up, I saw a soldier standing over me and laughing

“Thought you could get away with that did you?” he said and laughed again. Then there was Twang in the air and the soldier fell to the ground with an arrow deep in his chest. The other soldiers jumped in surprise, but before they could react the furthest one from the group gave a cry and was pulled into the shadows. Then, the entire underworld broke loose. People jumped out and started fighting. A man and a girl with swords took them head on while a girl with a bow sat in a tree and rained arrows on them. As I took this all in, pretty girl with black hair appeared next to me.

“Be quite” she whispered “I’ll have you out in a second.” She drew her sword and sliced the ropes that were holding them to the tree. I jumped up and grabbed my dagger. The battle was insane. The two people with swords were back to back fighting five soldiers at once. More soldiers on the edges of the ring kept getting pulled into the darkness.  Every time the archer had a chance, she shot and took out another soldier. Feeling left out and out classed, I jumped into the fray, taking on a man with his spear. Soon the soldiers were overwhelmed and were defeated. With one last swing, I sliced the man with the spear in his gut. A man came out of the shadows, wiping his daggers on a dark cloth. The strangers started piling the body’s on the fire and were burning them. After they finished that, the man with the sword turned to me.

“Who are you boy?” he said and “and where do you come from?” He was a very interesting figure, With short black hair and a well-cared for mustache and Goatee. “Answer me boy!” He said again  

“My name is Killian”  

 “And how Killian, Did you come into this situation?”

“We got into a fight with the guards at Winwillow, and we ran away.”

“You’ve come quite a long way then” he said looking at the pile of stuff on the ground.

“Yes and if you will excuse us, we are trying to get to Fellon Ford. “

“Fellon Ford?” he looked up in surprise “why are you going there?”

“To tell the truth, we were hoping on finding refuge from Meldon.”

The man looked around and motioned for his companions to come, and they gathered in a group just beyond hearing range. They started discussing something. The girl who had cut the ropes seemed to agree with whatever the leader said. The guy with the daggers seemed very angry, but in the end they seemed to reach an agreement. They came over and the leader addressed us.

“We are part of the resistance who are Trying to free Adalia from power and curse Meldon. My company and I are offering you a chance to join. If you want to, we will bring you to Fellon ford to be trained. If not, then be on your way. Decide quickly, we don’t have much time. I pulled Colleen aside and turned her towards me.

“What do you think sis?” I asked her “We don’t have anywhere else to go” 

“Do we know that we can trust these people?” She asked looking back at them.

“Well, they saved us from the soldiers and are offering us a place in the resistance, that is a good enough reason for me” I waited for her reply. She stood looking unsure of what to do.

“Alright, let’s go” she said with a little regret in her voice.  “We have nothing better to do” I grinned and kissed her fore head.

“You won’t regret this” I said in my excitement. “I promise.” I turned to the group of resistance members.  “It seems we are coming with you.” Most of them looked happy about it. The man with the daggers however, did not.

“Alright then.” Said the leader “then I guess introductions are in order.” The group lined up, and the leader named them off one by one. “My name is Octavian, and this,’ the girl with the bow stepped forward. She was dressed in green and brown, which matched her dark brown hair so she could blend in with the trees. “Is Freya, Our main archer and an expert in sharp shooting.” I shook her hand and she stepped back. Then a second girl stepped forward. She was clad in armor, but her arms were bare. Her hair was very similar to Freya’s “This is Autumn, A very skilled swords man and she is part of my commando squad, and she is a very good friend.” I shook her hand and she took her place by Freya. Then the guy with the daggers came forward, he was not nearly as pleased to see me as Freya or Autumn. He wore grey clothes and a grey cloak. He had blond hair that came down to his shoulders. “This is William; he is an expert in sneaking behind the enemy.” I stuck out my hand and but he just nodded and went back to his place in line. Finally the girl with the Black hair came forward. She had a chainmail suit, and under that her torso was covered with a leather Brest plate. Her black hair lay on her shoulders. “This is May; she is a good fighter and she is also our healer.” I grasped her hand and gave it a squeeze.

“Thank you for getting us out.” I said, as she went back to her place in line.

“anytime.” She smiled sweetly. “We are a team now, we will be there.” William didn’t seem very happy with this statement, but the others nodded in agreement.  Octavian looked around at the pile of stuff on the ground.

“We must be off” he turned to me. “Carry only what you can fit in one bag. We travel light.” he and his companions walked into the trees and one by one they led out big strong horses. Octvain turned and look at his party “Which of you will carry Killian? and I also need someone to carry…what was your name again lass?” the question was directed at Colleen.

“I almost forgot! This is my sister Colleen.” She smiled at all of them and they nodded back aside from William.  

“I will take Colleen” Autumn said, and motioned for Colleen to get on.

“ I’ll ride with Killian” said May. I was glad that I wasn’t stuck with William; he probably would have “accidently” bucked me off. I was even happier to be riding with May. I felt a special connection to her, a stronger one then I felt with the others, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was because she had cut my bonds, I don’t know, but I was glad to take the seat behind her on the big white horse. 

“Let us be off!”  Octavian cried and we were on our way.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chapter two




 Killian.
I rushed to the house and bolted through the door. Colleen was in the kitchen wrapping food and other supplies that we would need. I ran to my room and hurriedly began to pack, grabbing clothes, money, and other valuables such as my dagger and my bow. After packing my essentials, I ran into Colleen’s room, grabbed her bag (which she had already packed) and threw both bags onto the floor of the living room. Struck with the thought of transportation, I sprinted to the village stables, where I managed to quickly talk the stable master into selling me a large brown horse at a much lower value than it was worth. I prided myself for my bargaining skills; I had once gotten a satchel for three pennies when it was at least worth two silver coins. I grabbed the bridle and led it over to the house. Once again, I had a divine revelation and remember we would need saddle bags. So I once again ran over to the stables and purchased some saddlebags and ran back to the house. I began loading our supplies onto the horse. Colleen came out holding the final satchel; I lifted her up, and then climbed on in front of her. We started to ride.
            
that moment, the full force of our current situation struck me. We were leaving Win willow, and we probably would not return for a very long time--that is, if we ever did return. A well-known farmer who lived here once insulted a soldier; the next morning he was found hung on a tree just outside the village. If we stayed, we would die. But before we left, there was a few more stops I needed to make. I rode through the town and round the shops, buying this and that. I was getting food, blankets, and water sacks for the journey. One last thought struck me and we rode to the Archery shop; it was dark and quiet inside. I jumped off the horse.  
“I’ll be right back”, I assured Colleen, walked to the back to the secret door and slipped inside. Feeling my way around in the darkness, I made my way over to the arrow rack. I grabbed three quivers, some extra string, and an arm guard. I took one last look at the shop; I was going to miss this place          
“Thank you, my old friend”, I whispered to the darkness. "This can be my month's pay.” Walking out, I threw the quivers over my shoulder, and then climbed back onto the horse. We took off at a gallop, all the houses and shops rushing past us. I had only been outside the city a few times, but I had forgotten what a beautiful sight it was. The trees ran along the path to the gate out of Win willow. There were flowers everywhere, and the grass was lush and green. Birds were chirping in the air and everything seemed at peace. I knew I couldn’t admire the view; we needed to leave town, and quickly. Getting a head start, however small, on Meldon would mean the difference between life and death. I slapped the horse’s backside and we ran ahead. I couldn’t go to fast, as the supplies would be rattled, and I didn’t feel like losing any water. The trees all smelled of sap, the wind was in my hair, and bugs were whizzing by. It felt good to be riding again. I hadn’t been on a horse in a long time, not since the tournaments. I shuttered and focused on the path. After about five minutes, I saw the main gate up ahead. I was about to bring the horse into view, when I stopped short. There were guards patrolling the walls, and one blocking the gate. 

“Son of a Jackal!” I cursed under my breath and pulled the horse over to the side. I grabbed my bow and a quiver of arrows. “Stay here until I come back.” I whispered to Colleen. She nodded and I crept into the trees. Sneaking up to the wall, I flattened myself against it. Peeking over the side, I saw that the two guards on the wall were seated, and therefore hardly visible, while the one on the ground stood grumbling.

“Hey Floyd! When do I get to join in?” The guard on the ground complained as he looked up at his friends. “It’s awfully dull down here.”

 “After this hand Jim!” a guard on the wall shouted back. "It won’t take long, Jerry is about to lose this month’s wage!" Floyd laughed and went back to his game. Jim sighed and sat down on a tree stump. He lit a pipe and started puffing on it, and I realized this was my opportunity to strike. I jumped out and knocked him over the head with my bow before he had a chance to see me. He fell to the ground and lay there without moving. I knelt down and turned him over to make sure he wasn’t faking. One down, two to go. I thought as I pushed the guard over again. Then a cry came suddenly from up above, and Floyd laughed with joy.
 “Take that Jerry!” he said, "It's your turn to go down. Hey Jim! You can come up now.” He was silent for a moment “Jim?” he called a second time. Jim was unable to respond, as he was currently knocked out cold and drooling on the floor. Suddenly, I heard footsteps on the stairs. 

“Crab nuggets!” I said to myself, my eyes searching desperately for a means of escape. While I couldn’t go out from under the cover of the arch, I couldn’t very well just stand and wait for them to capture me either. Then my eyes drifted to the gate. It was shut, leaving a perfect hiding place on the top. I grabbed the bars and started to climb. I reached the top of the gate just as the guards were walking out of the door that lead to the top of the wall. Noticing Jim, one rushed to help, while the other stepped out to have a look around. Seeing a golden opportunity, I drew my dagger and let go of the bars. I fell towards the guard and brought the butt of my dagger down on the crown of his head. There was a loud crack, and then the guard gave a cry and crumpled to the floor. The last guard spun around. Seeing me with his two unconscious companions, he drew his sword and charged. I threw my dagger to distract him. When he ducked to dodge it, I knocked the sword out of his hands, and then smashed his head into the side of the wall.
            
Feeling quite pleased with myself, I retrieved my dagger and walked through the door. I came up on the top of the wall. It was a big wall, about ten feet high. I looked around for the wheel to raise the gate, and saw it at the far end of the wall. I started to walk over to it, but, when passing the table, happened to recognize the game that Floyd and Jerry had been playing. It happened to be a game that I was quite good at playing. There were lots of different names for this game, but the main one was Crickfin. And they were playing the two player way. I grabbed one hand and put the seven in the right place. That will give one of them an advantage I thought. Then I remembered we were facing imminent death, so I quickly threw the cards down and turned the wheel to pull open the gate. I bolted down the stairs and ran to Colleen. Jumping behind her on the horse, I snapped the reins and we darted under the gate just as the guards began to recover.
After ten minutes of galloping, I slowed the horse down to a walk and continued on slowly from there.
“Killian," Colleen said in a scared tone, "what are we going to do now?”
“Don’t worry Colleen, I’ll tell you when we camp tonight.” We were halfway down the road that led to Fellon ford when night fell. Going a little ways off the road, I started a fire. I pulled out the sleeping rolls, and laid them out next to each other. I got out some bread and meat from my satchel, making a small dinner. Then we sat down on the makeshift beds and faced each other.
            “So, now that we have a moment to talk, I’ll tell you what we are going to do.” I said pulling out a map from my satchel. “We are making our way to Fellon Ford; they are letting in refuges who have escaped from Meldon.”
            “Are you sure?” Colleen asked “what if it is not true?”
           
“Then I’m going to have to make it true,” I said. "It’s the best option we have.” We sat there silently for a second when I noticed that Colleen had begun quietly crying. I held out my arms and she fell into them.
          
  “It’s all my fault that we had to leave," she said between sobs.
            
“No it’s not!” I said, rubbing her back soothingly. "There was nothing you could have done. There were three of them against you. It was impossible odds."
         
   “Not for you” she said and started sobbing again. I realized she was right; I had taken the guards out with relative ease. Keeping these thoughts to myself, I tried to comfort her. We sat there in the same position until she fell asleep. I gently picked her up and laid her down on her sleeping roll, covering her with the blankets. Lying down on my bed, I slowly drifted off to sleep.

I awoke the next morning and rolled out of my blankets. I was very drowsy, and smacked myself to pull my senses together. I lay down with my hand under me, trying to get a kink out of my back that had appeared overnight. I painfully realized how long it had been since I had camped out. I light a fire and started cooking some breakfast. It was clam in the air, the birds were singing. I tried to push the thoughts of what we would do when we got to Fellon Ford to the back of my mind. I was afraid. Afraid of not getting there, afraid of what might happen when we did get there, and afraid that I would fail Colleen. She had come to depend on me for just about everything. I sighed and looked at her, lying peacefully asleep. I knew we had to go, but she needed some rest. I waited until about 9:00, and felt like I couldn’t wait any longer. I walk over to her and gently shook her awake.

“Hey, Coleen? Come on, it is time to get up, breakfast is getting cold.” She grumbled and dragged herself out of bed. It was silent as we munched on our food, both of us trying to avoid talking about what was going to be ahead. After breakfast, I packed the horse and we were on our way at about 10:30. The trees didn’t last for much longer. They suddenly stopped and opened into a large field of tall grass. I didn’t like the idea of traveling in open land, but it was clear that was our only option. That is, if we didn’t go through the Dewlong. I shuttered and looked over a ridge at the massive jungle in the distance. Many people had tried to venture into the marshes, but none succeeded. That is, if they did succeed, they didn’t come back to let us know. The marshes were said to be filled with terrible creatures. But it was all speculation, because once again, no one had ever come back. There had been a man on his way to Win Willow, This being before Meldon had dominated the game board, who claimed to have seen a unicorn and had shot at it. He missed and in turn since he tried to kill the unicorn, the unicorn told him to bring him tree sap to polish his horn. It was comical at first, but in the end, with all the drinking and all, the man had been tied up and sent to Meldon to be put in a mad house. We continued down the path. I tried to look like I was happy, even though I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Got off and walked for a time, to give the horse a rest. I stared blankly at the ground, trying to avoid stepping on rocks. The horse plodded along, bearing Colleen and the heat of the sun on his back. Maybe I should give the horse a name and stop calling him “horse” I thought to myself. I was trying to think of a name for the massive brown creature, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

A patrol of soldiers was walking down toward us through the fields. I switched myself to alert mode and cursed myself for being ill observant. The soldiers were clad in red, with a large bundle of wheat painted on their shields and breastplates. “Farmlands” I muttered to myself. I scanned the fields for some sort of cover. But as stated, they were fields, not forests. A few bushes were all that was in sight, and the grass was not tall enough to hide them. I looked back in the direction of the woods, but they were hardly in sight and with two passengers, our horse had no chance of out running the Soldiers horses.

“Hey, you!” A gruff voice cried, and I turned see the Soldiers charging at us. I pulled myself onto the horse and started charging back towards the woods. I was racking my brains to think of a way to slow them down. But Colleen didn’t know how to ride, and I couldn’t use my bow and steer at the same time. Suddenly, the horse cried out and I found myself on the ground.

I shook off the shock and stood up. The horse had been shot with an arrow in the flank, and was now sprawled out on the ground. Colleen was lying a bit to the side not moving. I ran over to her and made sure she was still breathing. Her chest was going slowly up and down, and I sighed with relief. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the soldiers were closing fast. I ran to the horse and grabbed my bow. There were seven of them, and one of me, but fighting was now the only option I had. I threw on my quiver and drew an arrow. They were about a hundred yards away. I pulled back, and let my arrow fly. It met it’s mark in one of the soldiers shoulders, and he fell screaming to the ground. I drew again and shot, but this one did not meet as much luck as the first, it embedded itself in one of their shield, and then they were upon us. I ducked under one of their swords and drew my dagger, stabbing the horse in the throat. It collapsed and flattened the man riding him. I turned and was knocked onto my back by a shield in the face. I spat out some blood and rolled back onto my feet. They started to circle me, so I threw my dagger at one of the riders and jumped onto his horse. I pulled an arrow out of my quiver and stuck it into the back of the man’s neck. Blood spurted out and I threw him off. I shot another arrow into another rider’s back, and he slumped over. I felt fairly good about myself, when my horse stepped into a hole and I fell with the horse crashing on top of me.

I was dazed, my vision blurry. I shook it off and managed to wiggle my legs out from under the horse. I stood with my head spinning. My head cleared and I looked around. The last soldier was gone. I sighed and looked around. The horses from the fight, that were still standing, were scattered over the field. Then, just on the ridge of one of the hills, I spotted the last rider. I squinted and saw something shaking and fighting the soldier as he road. I sick feeling filled the pit of my stomach and I turned to where Colleen was laying. There was nothing but outline of her in the grass. I jerked my head back over my shoulder, and saw the soldier riding over the hill into the sunset. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chapter One.


Killian.

I sat in the bushes and waited. I sat, clutching my bow, my knuckles white with anticipation. Then heard a sound and looking up, I saw a deer come into my view. I pulled back my bow, took careful aim, but right before I shot, the deer’s ears flicked up, and it bolted across the meadow. My arrow whizzed past where the deer had just been.
            “Blast it!” I muttered, and jumped out of the bushes. Suddenly a bright flash of light appeared at my left.
“I am afraid you have used your entire time master Killian,” a voice said, and Hadgen continued to open curtains around the room. Though I had been there many times, Archery range amazed me every time I set eyes on it. The view from where I stood, you could see a large wooden background of a meadow. If you looked behind it, you would see many ropes, gears, and wheels ready to send woodland creatures dancing though the background, ready to be shot at. When Hadgen let the lake water flow into the system, it would turn the gears, which in turn, would pull the ropes in such a way that wooden animals came out. It was an amazing contraption. Hadgen must have worked on the range for a lifetime and then some.
        
   Hadgen himself was an interesting person. He had a short grey beard, and always wore a black cloak with the hood up. Now don’t judge him by his appearance; he was the most bizarre person you would ever meet. He danced around, always had a big smile, and was typically singing a song. I met him awhile back when I was looking for a job, and even though I was the young age of fifteen, he took me as his partner. I made arrows, bows, arm guards, anything to do with archery you could think of. I was eighteen that year, and my sister Coleen and I were living comfortably.
            
“Thank you Hadgen,” I said as he, like many times before, let me do the range for free.
            “Oh! Any time Killian! Now hurry home! Colleen will be waiting for you!”
            I grinned, unstringing my bow, and ran out of the door. It was about four o-clock in Win willow. People were rushing around everywhere, eager to get back to their homes after a long day’s work. The city was composed mostly farmers and traders. It was a beautiful place. The trees were tall, the grass was green, and the smell of flowers was in the air. It was a great place to live, even after Meldon came. About a year ago, Meldon the great kingdom in Adalia by the sea took over the Farm Lands, which were on the edge of their kingdom, and about three days later, they started a siege on Win willow. As I said, Win willow has farmers, merchants, nothing ready to take on the armies of Meldon, and in the end, after a hard, but brief struggle, the city fell. We couldn’t fight them, so they came to rule. They tried to take over the other kingdoms, Crimera and Fellon Ford. But Crimera has the best military force, and Fellon Ford had a massive wall surrounding its entrance, so they did not succeed. No one came in or out of Meldon after that, save the kings soldier’s. Anyone caught trying to do ether was put to death by guillotine, or hanging, or burning at the stake, or some other horrible torture that no one wants to go through. There was a rumor going around that two people got out of Meldon before it went in lock down, but no one knows where they went. And I’m not one to listen to rumors. After Meldon took over, they took little interest in it, save the wood that, which the city has in abundance, to use for their weapons of war. Thus, they left very few Guards in Win willow, and it being so far away from Meldon, if they sent more help, it would take three days’ time. If people avoided these guards, then they wouldn’t get into any trouble (unless, of course, they were accused of sticking farmer Jed’s chickens in a rice picker, then it gets messy), but that didn’t typically happen, so there was generally nothing to worry about.

I walked for a while until I got to my house, there was a wonderful smell coming from inside. I opened the door and walked into the kitchen. Colleen was there stewing a rabbit, and she was very concentrated on it. I snuck up behind her and went “Boo” in her ear. She jumped and turned around. “Killian!” she said hitting me with the spoon she was stirring with. “You scared me half to death!” I laughed and gave her a wink. Her strawberry blond hair was falling around her shoulders.
             
“Now go sit down, it’s time to eat.” She said, tasting the stew. We ate the rabbit and then after chatting by the fire, I decided to go to bed early.The house that we lived in was small, but it was home. It had four rooms, my bedroom, Colleen’s bedroom, a living room, and the kitchen. We used both of our rooms to store the possessions that we had, which was a very small number. I went to my room and lay down on my bed. I was happy, with the way we were living. Unknown to me, this was my last normal day I would have for a while in Win willow.

I woke up the next day, and started my normal routine. I got up, dressed, grabbed a bucket, and walked out the door. The river was about a three minute walk from the house, and we lived a bit outside of the city. It flowed from a spring, that then ran all the way out of Win willow and met Tentel River, which was in fact, not a river at all. If we were to get technical, the island of Adalia is two masses of land, joined by a large bridge, with Win willow, the Farmlands, and Fellon Ford on one side, and Meldon and Crimera on the other. The bridge that joined them was the great bridge of Nidle. This bridge was made by all of cities, when they still got along. It was on the lower half of the island, and now, typically guarded by Meldon. Crimera has started making their own bridge, closer to their city, but it will take quite a long time. None the less; I was walking down to the river. Upon arrival, I started to fill up my bucket. The river was beautiful, shimmering in the sunlight. I looked off into the distance, thinking about what I should do before I left for the archery range, when suddenly I heard someone crashing through the bushes. I turned instinctively, grabbing the wrists of the person. I came face to face with a girl. I was very good friends with most of our neighbors, But I could tell that she was not from Win Willow. She had blonde hair with green eyes, and a scared very complexion on her face. It was clear she was running from something. She struggled, but I held on tight, intent on finding out what was going on
           
 “Let me go!” She screeched, trying to lose my grip “I need to escape, they are coming”

“Who are they?” I asked, “And who are you? I haven’t seen you around Win willow before.” She grew more frantic in her efforts to lose my grasp.

“Please! Meldon’s guards are going to be here any second” I stopped short. I suddenly had a protective feeling for this girl. Not sure why, but none the less, I felt obligated to help her. I heard something crashing through the branches to my left.

“Alright, come on” I said, grabbing her hand. We ran towards the city and darting through the houses, and booking it into the town square. It was fairly early, so not many people were out. We ran into the Tavern, where the town meetings and other community events took place. I shoved the doors open and we dashed behind the ale kegs. I grabbed a sack and threw it over our heads, holding my finger to my lips. Seconds later, I heard the doors burst open and someone come into room. My breath slowed. I just hoped that we were not moving the sack too much. The footsteps continued around the room, with lots of crashing and shattering that followed. The man grunted, and I heard the door close. We waited for what seemed like an eternity until I lifted the edge of the sack. I crawled out and made sure the coast was clear. I helped the girl to her feet. She brushed off her pants, blouse, as they were now covered in dust.

“Sorry about that, it was the best place I could think of.” As soon as I had uttered those words, I felt stupid. But I was not sure what to say, and even though I lived with Colleen, I still had yet to figure out the mind of a woman and her clothes.

“What? This, oh don’t worry about it.” She said continuing to brush herself off, “You don’t look the fanciest yourself” I glanced down at my own tunic, which was now
 a dark brown as opposed to green.

“Yeah, I guess you are right” I said smirking. We both burst out laughing, letting the tension of the situation out. The laughter faded, and we stood facing each other. “So, where are you trying to get too?” I asked, wiping a tear from my eye, “You need to get out of the city I assume”

“Yes, I need to get back to the south wall” she replied.

“Well then, we are off!” I said enthusiastically. I cracked the door open, and I signaled her to the left. We dashed through houses and behind bushes, trying to avoid sight, well, everyone. I reached the southern wall, and she took the lead. We ran along it until we got to a rope, hanging down from the side. It was an oddly shaded rope; it seemed to flash green brown and blue all at once. As we approached it, I could tell more clearly what the make of it was. It was a tightly woven fabric, in a pattern which I was quite unfamiliar with. I decided that it was indeed green, but had other fabrics woven into it. I did lots with ropes and knots, due to having to fix woodland so often, so I was quite interested when her hand grabbed the rope, bringing me back to reality.

“Well, I guess this is it” I stated awkwardly, “I’m Killian, by the way.” I stuck out my hand. She hesitated and then shook it.

“I’m Elizabeth” she released my hand and in turn grabbed the rope.

“Good to meet you Elizabeth” I replied, glancing behind me as if to see if anyone was there, “So, why are you here in Win willow?” I turned, but Elizabeth had disappeared, along with the rope. “Alrighty then.” I muttered to myself and started walking back to the town. It was about noon when I walked into the archery shop. I apologized to Hadgen for being late and quickly set to my work. As I punched holes in leather, sanded down bows, and fletched arrows, I couldn’t help but think about Elizabeth. Where had she come from? Outside the city obviously, but why was she here? I couldn’t answer. I finished my work, and headed home. Colleen had cooked a brilliantly tasting fish that I had caught a few days ago. I haven’t eaten a thing all day, but I didn’t still have an appetite. I turned early, laying on my side thinking about the mystery of “the girl with the green rope“ (the name I had decided the incident should be called) and drifted off to sleep with the image of her face in my mind.

I awoke the next morning after a pleasant dream about muffins. I once again dressed and headed down to the river. I had forgotten to grab the bucket the previous day, and I hoped that no one had taken it. I came to the same spot that I was yesterday, and found the bucket a bit down the stream. This confirmed that I had not been dreaming. I sighed and looked around to see if Elizabeth was around. But naturally she was not there. I tried to push the mystery out of my head and filled the bucket and carried it back to the house. My appetite had returned, due to the fact that I had nothing to eat yesterday, and I scarfed down my eggs and dashed to work.

I arrived at the shop, and the door was still shut, so I used the secret entrance in the back. Hadgen hadn’t told me about it, but then one day I saw him go through it, and he confessed and explained it to me. I went behind the counter and started to make sure everything was in order, when I heard Hadgen walk in the door. I stood up and was about to alert him of my presence when I noticed his case. It was a big black case, with golden vines stretching across the top, hanging off of the sides. He stood with his back to me, fumbling with its lock. I crouched behind the counter again and peeked over the edge. He opened the case and purple light came flowing out. Tendrils of light that looked like the vines on the outside stretched across the room. Then from out of the case, a woman rose adorned in purple robes. I quickly dropped behind the counter and listened to the conversation that followed.

“Are you alone?” A female voice asked Hadgen, her voice flooding the room.

“Yes” Hadgen replied, “His general has arrived and three of the five cities have already been taken over, and the others are soon to follow.”  

“He cannot be allowed to continue unchecked” She said grimly.

“There is a small organization that is fighting against Meldon, but they are small.”

“You must go and advise them” The woman said, “Help them take back the island”

“Yes, of course.” Replied Hadgen “I shall leave fairly soon” I decided I need to get out, or else Hadgen would notice that I was there and had been listening. I crawled to the back and went out through the secret entrance and around to the front door. The purple light was shining under the door crack and I could still hear their voices, speaking in whispers. I shook off the shock of what I had seen and knocked on the door.
 “Hadgen?” I called trying to sound surprised, “Are you in there” The sounds ceased and the light disappeared.

“Um, yes Killian! I’ll be right there!” He replied. There was some shuffling around the room inside and the door opened. “Hello Killian! You are early!”

“Yeah, I turned in early last night” I replied.

“Oh yes, of course, of course” Even if I hadn’t had the conversation inside, I would have been able to tell Hadgen was shaken up. He normally greeted me with a cheerful “Top of the morning to you” or something to that effect.
“Um, my I come in?”
“Wha? Oh yes! I’m sorry” He muttered and swung the door open. I walked in and started up my work. The rest of the day pretty normal as compared to the morning, it was a bit busy, but for the most part nothing special happened. The time came for me to leave, and I put all the supplies away. I started to walk out the door. “Good night Hadgen” I called back into the shop. “I’ll see you Monday”

Hadgen had been behind the counter smoking his pipe with a glazed look in his eyes. “Huh? Oh yes, Monday…” he replied and then resumed being captain depressing. I sighed and shut the door behind me. I walked home in the dark, and cursed myself for not having a lantern. I thought about the morning, and shuttered. I could still hear the woman’s voice in my head. “He cannot be allowed to continue unchecked” I shivered and pulled my jerkin closer to my body. I walked into the house and lit a lantern. Colleen had gone to bed, and there was a bowl of cold soup on the table. I sighed and dumped it out the window. I clambered into bed and, blew out the lantern, and dozed off to sleep.

I woke up the next morning and smiled. It was Saturday, and I could get some much needed thinking time. I threw my covers of and dressed myself. I walked into the kitchen and found a note on the table.        
Killian, I am going out to the west side of the city to picking berries, be back at about noon”
 Colleen
 “Alright then. Guess I’m on my own” I waited in the house for a while, doing random chores. Unfortunately, I was not very good at waiting. I grew bored, and decided to go for a walk. I meandered around the town, looking at shops and nodding to people as they passed. Suddenly, a scream pierced the air. It had come in the direction of the town square. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and bolted towards the noise. It was Colleen, and she was struggling to get away from a drunken soldier. His two friends were laughing, not caring about what their companion was doing.

 I ran towards them, yelling at the soldier to let her go. Shoved him over and made sure Colleen was behind me. “Stay away from her” I said glaring at the guard. The soldier got up and growled

“I can do whatever I want!” he said, his words slightly slurred, and drew his sword. My mind screamed sword! To me and I flinched at the weapon. The man saw this, and turned to his friends and laugh. Now I was really mad, I rushed forward, grabbed the man’s arms, and kneed him in the stomach. I  smashed him on the side of a building. His friends were dumbstruck for a moment, but gathering their wits they started coming towards me. I turned to Colleen.

“Go to the house, and pack.”

 “What about you?” she asked looking at the soldiers “What will you do?”
         
   “I’ll be fine, now go!” and she took off for the house. I turned to the men and got myself ready. As they approached, I plotted out what I was going to do. I ran towards the man on the right, rolled under his sword, kicked off a building and knocked him in the head. He crumpled to the ground and the other guard turned around shocked at his partner. I grabbed a broom and broke the head off. I faced my opponent, and he swung his sword at my head. It was clear that he hadn’t fought for a while, and I easily dodged his strike. I spun around and knocked the sword out of his hand, then smashed the stick into the side of his head. He fell to the ground and lay beside the other guards. The other people nearby stared, trying to process what had just happened. Some stared shocked, some were shaking their heads, and some looked at me as if they were saying “Why didn’t you do that three years ago?” They got over their shock, and rushed to tie the guards up. After they had done this, they tossed the soldiers in a barn. I looked around, trying to take in the situation. A man came up to me and looked at the swords that lay on the ground.

 “Why did you use the broom?” He asked “There was a sword right there!” Swords! My mind screamed. I quickly looked away,

 “I don’t use those…. things” I said in a bitter tone. The man looked at me strangely, and walked over to help with the soldiers. I glared at the weapons on the ground, and a shiver went up my back. Then I thought of Colleen, and I ran for home.