“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.
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.