A short story of a man on a journey to save Loriel Ferlin; 2nd Commander of the Eastern Empire.
The rain pounded on the roof of the tavern, drowning out all the conversations and yelling that was taking place outside the room he had rented. A single candle lighted the room; the walls bounced light off each other as the flame licked the melting wax. Alexander took a seat on the chair, making it creak as if it pleaded for him to get off. The night illuminated as another streak of lightning buzzed nearby, moments later a loud thrashing noise arrived, making the room tremble.
Alexander stared at the sky, the rain pouring down the window blurred his vision but he could make out the colour. "My God, why are you angry?", He grabbed the quill near the corner of the desk and dipped it in the ink that was left there by the previous renter. As his hand neared the paper, a knock came to the door. He placed the quill back in place with a sigh and stood up to grab his walking stick. That stick had saved his life many times, even though it was now old and had splinters, he treasured it as if it was worth a good price. He slowly moved towards the door, walking stick in hand. The person knocked again, more persistentley. "I'm coming, I'm coming".
Alexander opened the door, it creaked the same way the chair had when he sat on it. A little girl stood in front of him, gazing at him. It went on for about thirty seconds until Alexander broke the silence between them. "Can I help you little girl?", the girl stepped back and started to giggle as a group of children including herself hurried off back downstairs where laughter and tales of dragons and heroes were told. "Children and their games" he sighed as he closed the door. Alexander walked over to the window and looked outside, the rain had died down and the thunder seemed more distant.
"I'll need some sleep for tommorow, I might as well go to bed". He stood his walking stick next to the bed and removed his brown ragged shirt. As he lay down on the bed, it creaked. "Does everything have to creak here" he complained as he moved around the bed for a comfortable position. He slightly dozed a few minutes later, dreaming of dragons and children knocking on their doors.
The morning was lively, animals were out of hiding and had already begun their morning business. The birds were chirping and chasing after each other happily as stray cats followed them with ninja like movements and piercing eyes. Downstairs, the wenches had already begun serving the bread to those who were awake. The bartender could be heard shouting orders across the tavern like a captain to his ship. He was a short fellow, a crooked nose and busty lips. His hair was gray but his long uncombed beard was a silver-black. Local children would dare each other to run up and call him a dwarf, it became a nuisance to him and he decided to play along with the scary dwarf act and scare the children away.
The sunlight glared through the window, shooting at Alexanders eyes. His eyes slowly opened as he moved his hand to block the light. He wiggled his toes and sat up, brushing his short brown hair back with his hands. "That was an odd dream" he told himself, rubbing his eyes. He slipped into his shoes and went to go look for a clean shirt from his travel bag. A white long sleeved shirt with red and white roses around the collar was pulled out, he quickly pulled it over his head and headed downstairs for breakfeast.
The hall was dull, paintings of the bartenders family were placed all over the narrow walls. You could not tell the difference between the males or females. The same crooked nose and crusty uncombed hair. The floorboards moaned every step he took. He stopped for a moment to admire the only amusing painting there, a small ship caught in a large storm. Under the painting a quote was written: "We are the ship, struggling to get to our destination". There were people moving in the room beside him, so he decided to move on and get to that bread before it was gone.
He reached the 1st floor after descending about a dozen stairs. Alexander Erasmus took a seat next to a tall blonde man wearing a plain white shirt and worn out pants with holes on it's knees. "G'mornin mate, come to check out the wenches?" he yelled, spitting chunks of bread all over the table. "Nay, I'm here for a meal.." Alexander shot back in a calm voice. "Ah, that sounds good to I s'pose", he stood up and walked towards a wench shouting something at her, leaving Alexander by himself.
The room was full of people, they all seemed happy and had so much to say to each other. Alexander watched the bartender for a moment, grinning at the fact that he looked exactly like his sister until a sweet soft voice interupted him. "Sir, may I get you something?" the wench asked as politely as she could. Alexander nodded and replied "Aye, a wheel of cheese and bread, something to drink as well.". She left as quickly as she came and Alexander was left alone again. He looked around the room again and spotted the little girl who had knocked on his door the previous night. She caught him looking and jumped out of her seat, running towards her mother which happened to be one of the wenches.
After recieving the food without a word, he picked it up with both hands and began to walk to his room for a more peaceful breakfeast.
Termah was loud and lively the following afternoon, word had gotten out that Maximus Arayu had been seen strolling through town searching for soldiers that would assist with an undefined mission. The children struggled to follow him through the bustling streets, yelling his name and giggling joyfully. Maximus's personal guards followed him closely, their faces hidden underneath the plate helmets and Chain coifs. The guards were large and muscular, they wore full plate armor with chainmail underneath, a large battle axe strapped to their back with a cutlass sheathed to their side. The mares they rode looked as mean as they did, they would stare straight on; undistracted by the surrounding yells and laughter.
Alexander moaned as he woke to a knock on his door. "Who is it" He croaked, still half asleep. After waiting a few moments with no reply, he stood and clumsily walked towards the door; grabbing his walking stick on the way. He reached the door and opened it, finding a little girl standing in front of him. The little girl quickly spun around and streamed down the stairs with the rest of the clique. "Bloody Hell, how many times are these rats going to do this to me?!", Alexander slowly closed the door and made his way back to the bed but stopped when the door was knocked on again. "Enough, this ends now", he hastily leaped in front of the door, opening it with such great speed and stuck his stick through the shirt of the person standing in front of him. He quickly grabbed the shirt and reached for the hair of the girl. Instead of grabbing a piece of small ragged clothing and some little girls hair, Alexander was grabbing the uniform and helmet of a large, muscular guard...
Alexander had been pulled out of his room by the guard after grabbing his shirt; winding up face first on the ground. It took many apologies and explanations for the guard to let go of him but he was still not off the hook. Alexander was Conscripted because of the incident and told to report to a warehouse a few block away from his room. The guard followed him throughout the streets of Termah, making citizens believe Alexander was a criminal. His right eye was bruised and his lip was cut open, making the situation worse for him. They finaly reached the warehouse when the guard told him to wait in there until Maximus was ready to see him.
The warehouse was large and had many crates and clay statues in it. The floorboards were molding and rats were occasionaly heard, their little claws scraping off the floor. A few people stood around looking as confused as he was, waiting there like the statues beside them. No one talked or looked at each other but they all knew they were there for the same reason. Alexander began observing everyone when he realized that most of the people that enlisted were mere boys under 19. Their faces still showed signs of childhood and most of them were scrawny or small.
The doors sprang open as another man hurried in, looking slightly irritated. This may have been the oldest in the house, keeping his strides at a steady pace. His hair was brown and rugged, tied in a pony tail. His face was shaven but many scars were found throughout his face, making it difficult for anyone to recognize him if he was a past friend. "Bloody hell, these fuckers think they can throw me in here for no pay do they?! We will see about that, damn all of them to be punished by Torken!" Yelled the older man. The teenagers stared at him, curiously but hesitantley asking what the problem was. He stared at everyone in the room and spat 5 words, "None of your damn business". He booted a crate, creating a large hole in the middle and walked to the corner of the building; mumbling all the way.
A few minutes later, The doors opened again, introducing Maximus Arayu and 5 guards that looked almost exactly the same. Maximus quickly walked to the center of the house and began a speech that would surprise everyone in the house.
"Hello I am Maximus Arayu, 1st commander of the Western Empire and Sole Military messenger of Emporer Thorias II. You have chosen or been chosen to take part in an important campaign that was personaly addressed to me by the Emporer himself. Recently, A mysterious orginization that goes by the name of Kur'tog kidnapped Our very own Loriel Ferlin, 2nd commander of the Eastern Empire. It is my duty to rescure Loriel and disband this foul orginization by any means neccesary. You, all of you will help to defend our Kingdom and show these bastards that that Emporer Thorias II is not to be reckoned with! Gather your belongings and say goodbye to your friends and family, this is the end of your current life and the beginning of a new life full of Honour and fame!"
Alexander stood there, his mind was lost and the world was spinning. He dizzily looked at the others, feeling sorry for the younger ones who enlisted. He was the first to put his head up and walk out the door, leaving behind the life of a Scribe.
The wind crept into the ragged tent as the men and boys fought over the small blankets. Wolves could be heard howling in the distance; speaking to each other; warning each other of another presence in the night air. Those who were still awake could no longer fall asleep so they pulled out cards and played "Sweeper". Everytime a wolf howled, they would each look at each other and let out a nervous laugh.
Alexander sat next to his blankets; looking over a couple books they picked up in a small tavern on the road to the North. "Wanna play some 'Sweeper? asked a small boy who looked to be the youngest in the bunch. "Nay, I'd rather finish reading this book, return to your business boy". The boy gave him an annoyed look and walked away without a word.
The wind has stopped the following morning but the morning chill had set in. The travelers had grabbed whatever they could and wrapped it around themselves. Maximus could be seen at the front of the line speaking to one of his guards; making plans to what their next move would be after they rach their destination. Far off to the distance a small village could be seen. Farmland stretched down about 20 metres and a few houses were shrouded underneath tall maple trees. The look on the traveler's faces could not be more happy as they each spotted the houses.
"Alright boys! first to reach the village gets to choose their room and get first meal!". You should have seen the way they ran. It looked as if it was going to be their last time sleeping in a warm bed with a full stomach..