As Darkness Falls, Hope Comes

by Mar 24, 2007Stories

“Very well then, let us go inside and discuss these matters. We shall eat and relax, then maybe you could show me what it is that you can do.” It was more of a statement than a question and Kali followed behind with Nate clutching her hand.

Nate had watched the exchange eagerly, where had Kali learned to talk as she did in front of royalty? He had not heard her speak like that ever while they were on their way to the city. One of his eyes was swollen from a punch by the guards, and he felt as if everything was going too easy and smoothly for them. Something was going to happen and he didn’t want it to happen in front of Gondor’s King.

Kali, tread carefully, he thought hoping Kali would understand his silent presence. Someone is going to make this harder for us to do, please let us be able to detain them before it’s too late. I have come too far to watch Kali’s hopes be squashed by someone rushing in and blurting out some lie. If I have to I will lie for her, if only so she can talk with the King thoroughly about what has happened to her home land. It means too much to her to lose everything she has worked for, fought for, and watched people die for. If that means that I should be another who dies in defense of her goals, then so be it. I can handle it, though she would probably not want me to sacrifice myself for her.

They were led into a grand room, curtains hung from the sides of the walls in deep reds and a shining gold that twined with each other creating beautiful patterns that helped lighten the seemingly dark area. Nathan immediately took comfort in its warmth, which he soon discovered came from several fire places that were scattered along the walls of the room where the curtains weren’t at. Huge blazing fires roared within them and when he stared he found that it was hard to keep his eyes trained on a fire for any long period of time before he felt them begin to cry in protest for him to blink. None of them had spoken to each other since they had entered the room. It was then that Nathan noticed the paintings that were put at the four corners of the room.

One was of a winter scene, snow covered the ground of the city and the people were bundled up for warmth. A hue fire burned in the heart of all the people, its smoking climbing up into the skies. The people themselves were plainly dressed; their clothes consisted of browns, grays, greens, and auburns. Only one individual was dressed brightly, his robes a royal blue with gold hemming on the cuffs and across his chest. His sword was drawn and held above him a gesture of victory. Slowly he realized that the fire was actually orc carcass piled high, he shivered, the joy of the painting had left him.

“It was when we were fighting off the last of the orcs, my allies gave it to me as a thanks for helping protect them. It’s a bit gruesome is it not?” The King asked his eyes looking over the painting himself.

Nate nodded not trusting himself to speak. This was easily the most decorated building he had ever been in since he could remember. It was a little intimidating thinking about it so he decided not to, and cast the thoughts to the back of his mind. Kali seemed to be in awe of the place also, but her shock about the painting wasn’t as concealed as his had been. Her mouth was opened in a snarl, much like her werein form would have made.

“It is a fine piece, My Lord, but surely there is a better place in the hall to hang it?” She asked.

The young King sighed, “Unfortunately I have looked for such a place, but have no where that it would still be held honorable to be. It is sorrowful to think that my people’s allies are still barbaric in their ways even compared to us.”

This caused Nate to stir, “Sir, what exactly are your allies?”

“Ah, even I’m not so sure about that either, so look like they are human, others are short, like dwarves, but are far too quick in their movements to be one. The most intriguing though are the Chanters. They are people, but they look so different from us, and dress as if it is summer all year long. The women usually have their stomachs and legs showing so that they can move better. The men wear only tunics.” He mused.

Nate cocked his head, how odd. They didn’t sound that different, but then he had opened his eyes to see that most of the stories he had grown up with about monsters, were in fact real. His eyes locked with Kali’s for a moment before he fell a pace behind her and the King. She was genuinely interested in what he had to say and Nate felt that his skills would be better served if he kept a watch around them.

I was amazed, here the King was leading us in his home and acting as if we had been friends for years, but I wouldn’t complain, it was a nice change. Smiling politely I let my eyes wonder over the room and hall, it was luxurious, nothing like I had grown up with. After a while of walking my legs began to weary and my stomach to growl in protest. Clearing my throat I spoke softly, my voice echoing even with it so low.

“Uh, my Lord, is there anyway that we can get something to eat and wash up before I address you with my abilities?” My eyes caught Nate’s and he nodded happily, a little too happily.

The King looked between them, “Oh, yes. Forgive me, I have forgotten that you both have traveled far to get here, I’ll have someone show you where to go and wash up, clothes will be provided, and then we can discuss your abilities, as you put them.”

I bowed slightly and Nate quickly followed suit, his movements slow, like he had been surrounded by water. A girl came and beckoned to me to follow her and a young boy did the same for Nate. I smiled to him and left following the girl.

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