Battle Of Kings
Set in the age of castles and knights and Powerful Kings who lead their wars. If you're gonna post, be mostly literate. Use punctuation. Write descriptive posts. Explain your character as much a you can in the first posts you write. Don't be stupid or rude. Or gross. Anyone can play anyone. Including any needed Kings or any needed townsfolk. Magic is allowed, any other powers are also permitted. other races such as elves and other LOTR races can happen if you can make it non-lame. Make it worth reading.
Nicholette could feel her heart pounding hard in her chest as she pulled the reins in to bring Meiko to a walk. She had been running him hard for the entire morning to make it home in time. As she approached the fortresses’ mighty walls, she could clearly see the banners bouncing and waving her in. They were flying high today, to celebrate the royal engagement, no doubt. The guardsmen in the tower sounded the horn, followed by the growl of the gates sliding open to allow her entry. She knew that if her father had been in that guard tower, the gates would have stayed closed, stone solid as he frowned down, but these men let her pass, as they could face death for making that call themselves.
The streets were bare, making it easy for her to maneuver Meiko quickly up the road. She dug her heels into his sides to let him know that he wouldn’t be scolded for going faster. No matter how fast she got home though, she was still going to deal with the consequences of her actions. The entire path from the edge of town, to the castles bridge was crowded with townspeople. She pulled the reins off to her right, off the road so that fewer villagers know of her outing. She ducked off into the trees that thickly surrounded the entire kingdom. This was where she felt like she could cover the most ground safely. Darting through the trees, and bounding over small streams, Meiko breathed steady. He knew this route better than Nicholette even. 200 paces to the stable, the trees were a blur of green in her peripherals. Her hands gripped the reigns tight as a piece of a branch swatted her cheek. Tears rimmed in her eyes from the sting, but she ducked lower and held on. 100 paces to the stable, she thought back to the reason she even left the night before. What could she possibly tell her father without making him too angry? How could he possibly understand why she had to go? She sighed and pulled her cloak hood back. Her hair was tied back, so her blonde hair cascaded down her back in spirals to her waist. As she rode up to the castles’ stable, the door was open and the stable boy was asleep at the back on a pile of hay. He cared about the royal engagement just as much as she did apparently. She rolled her eyes and led Meiko into his stall, quickly removing his bit and reigns. With a quick kiss on his nose, she headed out the back door up to the castle, making sure not to wake the stable boy as she stepped lightly over him.
The path from the stable house up to the castle was a narrow pathway, leading to the kitchen door. With at least one guard in every doorway of the castle, there was a very public feeling to every aspect of life.
Standing high and mighty at the top of the highest hill stood the castle of Hembridge. The stone walls of the castle were tall; the towers on all four corners of the castle were spiral staircases that wrapped around from the first floor to the fourth. All the halls connected all the rooms in between. Outside of the castle, on each side but the front, the trees grew thick and the streams ran clear. There was one main path from the town below on the side of the hill, where all the townsfolk had built their town. Homes made of lumber and homes made of stone, one by one they all earned their keep in the town, working at whatever trade was needed in town. Surrounding the village, locking in all the trees and streams, was a wall that had prevailed through many attempts to attack the fortress. No one had gotten through that wall, and it seemed that no one ever would.
Hembridge had only one true enemy. He was known as Lord Baerth. He ruled in the west in a gypsy town he overtook. He killed all the innocence, and turned young boys into ruthless bandits. Young women, small boys, full grown men, he took them all, and trained them to be killers. They hid out in trees in the forest and attacked travelers passing through, taking any gold or supplies that they wanted. The King had sent out several small caravans of men to patrol the path and watch for Lord Baerth’s band of fiends. They patrolled from the gates of Hembridge, to the smallest village of Valantra on the cliffs by the sea. Sometimes they captured or killed a group of bandits, but Lord Baerth continued to attack villages with his clan, kidnapping and raping and acquiring more bandits. He was said to wear a lone suit of armor, but it was enough to cover every inch of skin on his body. His face was covered by an iron mask and drawn to his side was a sword the length of a horse. He wielded it with ease and finesse, destroying anything that stood in his way. He was nearly untouchable. No man could stand against the power of Lord Baerth.
Last edited by NicholetteRose; 03-07-2013 at 11:33 AM.
Off in the distance a figure bolted to a sitting position, startled awake by the far off sound of hooves against the ground. She sat still, listening for a moment, and relaxed when the noise lessened... whatever had woken her was headed away from her. She stretched and took stock of her surroundings, a thick part of forest and a bubbling stream beside her. It was peaceful, far enough from the main road to the city where no one travels. She stood and crossed to the stream for a cool drink. Her reflection caught her eye, features unremarkable to her. Her face, almost identical to her mothers... Supple brown skin around slightly slanted eyes, high cheekbones and a full mouth. And crowned with a head of tangled dark locks. Except her eyes, unearthly colored eyes.... Her fathers eyes.
A snapping branch alerts her to a presence behind her, and she whirls around with a hand going to one of her daggers. A shadowed figure of a man materializes from the trees...
From the other side of the stone road, crowed with simple town folks. A giant man who towered over the town folks, easily by a foot, stood in his ancient lifeless full body armor, that had seen countless battles and blood thirsty weapons. This lifeless armor laid over a style of full body chainmail, that less than a hand full can still remember. As he watched the darting horse, he only stared emotionless, for he was created without emotions. With his two long swords by his side, named Malus and Bonum, in their sheathes hidden from the crowd around him he moved from the increasing size of humans. As he embarked to his right swiftly, unnoticed by anyone, he vanished into the alley that led to the open trees of the kingdom. With the new found light of the sun floating, above his now brighten armor and skin, he came to one of the many turns of the stream, in the busy kingdom. As the man looked into the soothing river, his reflection appeared with his almost eyebrow length red hair, that gave a glimpse of dark brown in the shadows, a constant changing amber eye color, and a skin tone with only enough blood to look alive, came together. Just as fast as it came it was demolished by the now hostile water to his image. Further down the running stream he looked upon a faint image of what he thought was a villager and returned on his own way. With the sound of his scared armor and swords he continued his path towards the castle to see the king.
Pulling open the giant oak door to the castle, Nicholette slipped past the guard into the kitchen. The servants were hastily tossing ingredients into bowls and cracking eggs. Mariana, the head cook, was watching over their shoulders. She gave a “Good Morning” nod and a smug smirk to Nicholette as she scurried through. Mariana had known Nicholette since she was born. She was a rather large woman, as any good cook should be; her hair was light brown, with many gray strands throughout. She had a warm smile and a hearty laugh. Mariana could cook anything she got her hands on, and she could cook it well. When Nicholette first began learning to hunt, she would bring whatever the days catch was to Mariana, who would take her out to the edge of the woods and they would cook it together under the stars. Any trouble Nicholette was out getting into, Mariana would cover for her no matter what the situation.
As she rushed across the throne room towards the staircase to her room, a sting on her cheek reminded her of the small cut on her cheek. She licked her finger and rubbed at it to make sure the specks of dry blood weren’t noticeable. She knew her father would probably be upstairs right now, quite possibly surrounded by servants helping him into his royal robes and capes. He had to get ready for the celebration. His address was a much anticipated event of the banquet. He must know I’ve been gone. Surely he’s furious with me. She could hear her father’s voice in her head clear as day as she crossed the throne room. “What would your mother think, Nicholette?” She stopped abruptly as his voice filled every inch of the room. Squeezing her eyes closed, she turned to face her father’s throne and let her gaze rest upon her father. He was sunk back into his throne, a purple and gold robe draped around his shoulders. White hair poured from his head as if someone tipped him on his top. Her eyes settled on his wrinkled face. There was such sadness to his face, perhaps from her, as if every stress she caused him was just another wrinkle upon his brow. Perhaps from her mother, who years before had died in childbirth, also losing the baby boy she tried giving her life for. Or perhaps he was just a tired old king, who had carried the burdens of his kingdom for too long.
“Father…You aren’t ready for the banquet...” Her voice cracked as she remembered exactly why the banquet was even being put on. The Royal Engagement…her father was going to announce who he had chosen for her to marry. He moved his hand to his scepter, and stepped down the carpet to her. “You cannot rule a kingdom if you aren’t here to rule Nicholette. You cannot just ride out without guards, especially not in the dark of the night. There are people out there waging war against our villages! You know that!! You…” His tone softened. “…you are my only daughter, my only heir. You shall marry and rule. That is how you will help our people. You are so very brave, but you cannot fight alone.” His hand brushed back her windblown hair. A sigh escaped from her lips, finally bringing her to realize how tired she was from her morning. She could hear the sound of servants coming through the corridors to the throne room, footsteps drawing nearer and nearer to them. “I will go get dressed for the banquet now Father.” As she excused herself, she realized that the brown robes she was currently dressed in were entirely inappropriate for a banquet with the King. Especially since the banquet was her own. She bowed her head so he could plant a kiss upon her brow and headed toward the stairs.
Last edited by NicholetteRose; 03-07-2013 at 10:41 AM.
The figure was a little ways away up the stream in the direction of the kingdom’s high walls. She gasped at what appeared to be an overly large man, a giant –for lack of a better term, dressed in some strange thick armor. He was pale with red hair, maybe auburn? It was hard to tell from far off. She studied him as he stood by the water’s edge. He seemed distracted by his reflection, much like her only moments before. Slowly his head turned in her direction, and she was taken aback at the quick golden-like gleam from his eyes. ‘Must have been a trick of the sun.’ she thought to herself. Instinctively, her hand gripped her sheathed dagger a little tighter. The figure stared in her direction a few seconds longer before turning and walking in the opposite direction. She stayed frozen in place as his retreating back became smaller and smaller in the distance. FWUMP! Her vision suddenly became dark and her adrenaline spiked as she pulled her dagger from her---
“You could at least try to keep a low profile, or else you’ll be spotted by unfriendly travelers.” A deep voice said. She blinked in the sunlight as a hand pulled the hood from her traveling cloak back off her face, the same hand that had blinded her to begin with. As her vision cleared she found herself staring into two familiar pools of crystal clear blue.
“Brigan!” she cried, “I could have stabbed you!” She pushed his hand away and shakily replaced the dagger in her belt. Her head swam and her heart pounded from the adrenaline rush. She turned and glared at her companion.
“I wasn’t too worried about that, your reflexes aren’t up to par with mine.” Brigan chuckled, and backed off towards their small fire pit. She huffed and glared at him, barely noticing he had two large rabbits tied to his belt. He knelt by the pit and began the makings of a fire while she continued her visual assault, unperturbed by her anger. After a few moments her anger subsided, and she went to sit across from him while he worked. ‘Damn him..’ she thought. He stoked the fire silently, his frame coming to relief in the light and smoke. He was tall, with broad shoulders and a muscular frame. He kept his raven-colored hair relatively short, uncommon for a warrior. There were laugh lines around his eyes and the corners of his eyes, which was funny to her since he rarely laughed. He had a strong jaw; his five o’clock shadow speckled with gray from the journey’s stress level. They were an unusual pair, a young woman entering her twenty-first summer and her older companion, who was by normal standards already past his prime at thirty six. A slight blush crept up the back of her neck as she watched him, he didn’t seem so old to her, not physically anyway. Her mind wandered and her eyes slid out of focus…
“ Hey, ’Laudia,” Brigan called her back from her thoughts. He held the rabbits in his left hand and his skinning blade in the other. “If you’re done daydreaming, would you mind helping me by cleaning these.” He waved their lunch in her face to further shake her from her thoughts. She sighed, took the rabbits and the blade and stood. Before she walked to the river’s bank she turned and spoke to Brigan’s back.
“Tomorrow we have to go into town, we’re low on supplies and you need medicine.” He grunted a non-verbal agreement but nothing else. ‘His pain must be making him less arguable.’ She mused. “Perhaps we should buy some horses as well, we have a long way to go still.” She smiled as his head cocked slightly to the right, he always did that when he was thinking. She turned and left him to his thoughts so she could prepare their meal.
Last edited by Laurellai1991; 03-07-2013 at 03:09 PM.
As the emotionless man walked along the old stone road, followed by the sound of his armor hitting the beaten road, step by step. His every step made his eyes involuntarily moved a small amount, until his eyes were following his feet. After moments of following them, his hearing grew faint, followed by his touch, and lastly his vision. As his vision grew dim, a scream from a woman being chased by warriors, haunted his ears. His head bolted up, to his view it was no longer the kingdom he was in for it was a blood bath, one he has seen before. As he looked to his surrounding, on his left was a pike of heads and as he looked to his right was the screaming female running for her life. A dramatic shout of fear came bursting out of her lungs "Please! Save me!". Just as fast as her plead was heard she was caught and dragged off, into the burning city. As the warrior began to crossover the hundreds of dead bodies, a familiar voice came rushing through his head. "Hey, Bargish! Stand guard as I come by!" shouting from Tor' gash's massive body. Tor' Gash was a stocky man, who was the guardian of Bargish when he was a child. His sheer size alone gave him the title "Grand Leader of the Val' Kash" no man or demon would go against him single handed and live. His brown beard and mud brown eyes like most Val' Kash, glowed with joy to the sight of combat, for their clan's way of life was raised on war. With each footstep pounding ,the blood-stained, ground he ran over to Bargish, Tor' Gash's two massive axes moved like toys, in his monstrous hands. With the arrival of Tor' Gash by Bargish's side, he gave him a bear hug, that no bear would ever want to be on the receiving side for. As Bargish was lifted off the ground and back down, he regained his breath. Tor' Gash's yelled "I'm glad to see your still able to fight for your lord, Bargish!" as he took a step away."My lord I'll never stop fight under you." Bargish replied unhesitating. Tor' Gash screamed "Bargish! We shall make their blood flow like the Nosterium River!" as they both went charging into, the burning city. The night sky was overran by the lights of the fires and screams of the battle led by the Val' Kash. As the night continue to glow from the fires a sudden giant blue light filled the sky. "Tor' Gash! What is that!?" shouted Bargish. "Bargish! Take cov-" before the sentence was finish Bargish awoke from the flashback and was standing in front of the giant, stone castle decorated, in the king's banners and surrounded by guards of all shapes and sizes.
With the approach of Bargish to the front gate he crossed through knowing he was the odd one out by his armor. The guard's eyes followed him like a vulture would their prey. Every guard he passed he felt their eyes sitting on him adding to the growing number. He finally entered the courtyard and was stopped, by a small man who stood only to his chest. The miniature man wore a elegant blue shirt, lined with yellow cotton that shined like gold, and coated with multiple emeralds down his chest to his waist. His pants, tight to his skin sure to break open ,if he sat down. The white expensive cotton pants were to small for his glutton shape, that he believed that he could pay away the sin, to the church. As he held up the piece of hemp brown paper he looked down the list of names in ink. With a uncivil manner he barked "Who are you? And what do you want?" as he dangled with his dirty and rough mustache, that never has been washed. "I have business with the king of this land." replied Bargish showing no remark to the man's tone of voice. "Well he is busy! Unless you're here for the banquet then leave!" snapped the little man as he was marking on his piece of paper and spilling ink from his quill, from writing. With no further pursue of the conversation, with the small man. Bargish turned around and began to walk, out of the marvelous stone castle. Bargish figured he will have to return after the banquet was finish. With a few more feet to step till out of the castle's entrance. A shout from the rude voice came running "Wait...If you want to see...the king" as he tried gaining his breath, he continued. "We are one guard...down he didn't return from....his journey...stay the night on...guard and Ill let you...see the king" as he was finishing the sentence, he began gasping for he never ran a day, in his life. "I accept the honor, I shall be on watch till sunrise" as Bargish replied and headed towards the front of the castle with several guards.
Last edited by KeeperOfFear; 03-05-2013 at 08:47 PM.
Nicholette had only just traded her brown riding robes from that morning for a navy blue colored gown that fell around her feet when there was a rap at the door. A voice followed to tell her that they were ready for her to attend the banquet. Without responding, she glanced back at the mirror a last time and sighed. Her bedchamber maids had been in earlier to pull her hair back at the crown and set white daisies throughout her curls, and now as she looked at herself, a strand of hair had fallen out to the side. She brushed it back and stepped out to the corridor.
Nicholette greeted person after person, heard congratulatory words and well wishes from surely everyone in town. She warmly smiled and thanked them all, even though she knew she would end up as a disappointment. Everyone in town seemed to have only nice words when asked about Nicholette. The worst words spoken of her were old widows complaining that it isn’t proper for ladies to ride horses, or use weapons. She was very talented with her bow and arrows, though. How could she live in a world where she could not protect herself from evil? She took another sip of her wine as her father continued to cheerily babble on to her new fiancé. He was a tall, dark haired man, with very dark eyes and dimples when he smiled. She had to admit, her father had done a wonderful job picking his future heir. He was very smart, a skilled warrior and extremely handsome. He would make a great King, and not a bad husband it seemed. Closing her eyes, their only conversation played over in her head. She hadn’t noticed him stepping up beside her throne until he spoke, "You look stunning, My Queen. I must say, I am very pleased to be marrying such a beautiful and useful woman.” Something about the way he emphasized that word made her wonder what he meant by it. She sweetly smiled up at him and offered her hand, which he took swiftly and kissed, directly on queue. "As am I pleased to be marrying such an honorable, noble leader. I hear that you led one thousand soldiers to battle at Le Chaise against the dark armies?” He smirked and stared out into the townsfolk gathered at tables around the room, “Is that what you heard? Did you hear that Lord Baerth didn’t even show his cowardly head? We defeated his entire army that was staying ‘with him’ at Le Chaise. The poor bastard has no idea that his time has come. Oh, surely it has come, for once I am crowned King, it will only be a matter of time before things change.” He glanced down at her face as she stared intensely into his and he added, “For the better, of course darling. Now if you’ll excuse me, I really should go speak with your father.” Just as quickly as he entered, he was gone. It was eerie, really. His steps were light, almost as if he was gliding across the marble throne room floor. She sipped her wine again and pondered her plan for the night again. If she forgot something, she would have to go without. It’s likely she wouldn’t be coming back for a few days. She was headed up north to Riviana to see a Mage there. Suddenly, she was snapped from her thoughts by a young woman holding a small baby in her arms. “E-Excuse me Princess, I was just wanting to wish you the best in y-your marriage…and may many blessings be upon you...and may you bear many healthy heirs.“ Nicholette nodded her head with gratitude and stood up with a stretch. “Father, I am tired...” She lied. “I wish to lie down for a while. I’ll return when I am feeling more social.” The King sighed and reached for her hand. “Very well, my dear. Try to be back soon; this party is for you after all.” She lightly kissed his hand, glanced around the noble throne room and all the townsfolk inside and slipped out into the corridor.
Last edited by NicholetteRose; 03-07-2013 at 11:27 AM.
The two travelers finished their meal of rabbit meat and relaxed by the fire, the sun steadily rising higher in the sky. They sat across from each-other, lost in their thoughts and staring aimlessly into the fire. A few minutes later 'Laudia heard something from far off, something that sounded almost musical... She turned her head in the direction it was coming from. She concentrated so she could hear it more clearly over the crackling fire. It was coming from behind the wall, from the town. Her pupils dilated, and her hearing became more acute. It was music, and talk and boisterous laughter. She could hear feet stomping around and the clatter of cutlery against bowls and plates. It was a merry symphony, and it made her long for home.
"There's a festival or something going on," she said, "it sounds big." She turned back to the flames, eyes returning to normal. She leaned back against the tree nearest to her and sighed aloud. " Sounds like everyone is having a grand time."
"I suppose they are, I have heard whispers of a royal engagement for the heir of Hembridge." Brigan replied, still not taking his gaze from the burning wood. She raised her eyes to his face, gauging his emotions off his body language. He wasn't fond of crowds, or large towns with bustling villagers at all hours of the day. After his past experiences in the war she couldn't blame him for his apprehension at even passing through town. It was necessary though, there were vital supplies they needed to survive. They had been traveling for over a year now, and their destination seemed no closer than it did when they ventured out together. Brigan's face looked sunken and pale, and she felt a small pang of guilt. She knew he must be in pain, and he did his damnedest to hide it, but whether he hid it from her or more from himself she didn't know. It took her a moment to realize his eyes had turned up and were looking directly into hers. His bright blue piercing her opalescent ones. She flushed, blinked and looked away quickly. He followed her gaze up to the afternoon sky and they studied the clouds for a few quiet minutes.
Brigan cleared his throat and said "We'd better get some rest before heading into town. We'll make our errands quick and be on our way to the Borderlands by late evening." He adjusted his cloak around him and leaned back onto the grass, his pack underneath his head like a pillow. Within minutes he was breathing heavily, fast asleep. 'Laudia poured some water from the stream out of her drinking cup into the blaze, quieting the fire as to not immediately alert bandits to their spot; the smoke drifting into the sky was sure to attract strangers if she left it be. She arranged her cloaks around her and underneath her so she could get comfortable and laid down, head turned towards the clouds. She tried to count how many she could see and soon drifted off when she rounded the fiftieth wisp floating lazily across the blue sky.
Last edited by Laurellai1991; 03-07-2013 at 03:26 PM.
Once Nicholette got back to her room, she began to change into her training clothes immediately. She pulled on some fine woven wool pants, and a leather corset-style bodice. Her boots, she had been wearing under her gown before, strapped all the way up her thigh for support and balance and finally looked like they belonged on her. She tied brown leather bands to her wrist on each arm, just one more thing to protect her against a blade. Bringing along the gown she was wearing before to the banquet should suffice for any particularly elegant occasion that may arise. After tossing into her pack any necessities for her trip, she knelt beside her bed and lifted the quilts to reveal a wooden drawer connected to the bottom of the bed frame. Pulling a long skeleton key out from her bosom, she opened the drawer and pulled out 3 long vials of a thick, shimmery, baby blue liquid. She fitted them snugly into her belt, tight enough to her waist to absorb any pressure without any breaks or spills. Packing light was the only option she had, since Meiko could easily tire or be injured from carrying too heavy of a load. She slung her quiver of arrows and her bow over her shoulder and peeked through the single crack in the door. Once she was sure the coast was clear, she stepped out into the great hallway, and swiftly made her way to the kitchen.
Mariana was directing the catering servants, while basting another ham for father’s table. Her smile quickly faded to a scowl as she noticed Nicholette’s attire and she set down her brush. “Where are you headed this time Niki? You barely got away with last night’s little adventure…”
Mariana scolded, as she propped her hand up on her hip, glad for the break away from cooking. The beads of sweat speckling her forehead shined in the afternoon sunlight through the window. “Mariana, you know they aren’t just ‘little adventures.’ I’m not ten years old anymore, chasing toads and rabbits in the woods. Lord Baeth is killing innocent people and destroying entire villages. I won’t stand by and watch my home fall to ruins with the rest of them. This is my chance to save Hembridge and so many others, and finally do something real as queen. I know that father likes Liam, and he will give him the crown whether I am here or not. When I come back, with the head of Lord Baeth, surely I will still be accepted as rightful Queen…” She trailed off, staring blankly into the burlap sack of potatoes. Hearing the plan out loud sounded crazy. A princess ditching her wedding to save her families villages from an evil tyrant…it sounded absurd and impossible. Mariana shifted to her other hip, and relaxed against the counter, causing some sauce to stain the back of her gown. “Niki, leaving like this doesn’t insure that you will be accepted back. What of Liam? Is he to rule with the shame that his Queen left him? What if he re-marries before you come back? Or what if you don’t come back Nicholette…You need to tell your father.” Nicholette looked to the floor. These aren’t things that were new to her. She had thought through every possible scenario. It wasn’t dying that worried her. It was leaving, and causing so much disappointment. Soiling her name with the people was something she would have to do in order to save them. She didn’t notice the tears brimming up in her eyes, but Mariana was pulling her in for a bear hug before she even had a chance to. “Oh Niki,”
she sighed into her hair. “I know this is something you have to do. I can’t stop you; I can only make sure I give you enough food that you won’t starve. You remember everything I’ve taught you?” Nicholette nodded, wiping the tears from her cheeks. Mariana pulled a satchel from under the counter, and packed meat, bread, cheese, and other fruits and vegetables inside before holding it out to her. “Thank you so much Mari, I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. I’ll come home soon enough. I promise.” She took the satchel, and headed out the door toward the stables, leaving the smell of the rising dough behind her.
Last edited by NicholetteRose; 03-07-2013 at 02:52 PM.
As the sun began to inch higher into the sky, Brigan and 'Laudia broke camp and set off for Hembridge Square. They exited the woodlands and came upon the dirt road that entered the city. As they neared the Wall they could see others who were passing in and out of the gate. There were several guards just ahead of the gate, stopping passers-by every so often, probing for information and inspecting caravans and wagons. Brigan nodded to 'Laudia, signaling her to follow him through the small crowd. He wove between two large wagons pulled by two horses each as they crossed the great threshold, 'Laudia hot on his heels, and slipped unnoticed into the city.
"Is it really necessary for such protection?" 'Laudia asked, turning her head back towards the gate. A couple of soldiers had pulled a caravan to the side and were rifling through the travelers belongings.
"So it would seem," replied Brigan, taking notice of a great number of guards patrolling inside as well. "The king must be taking extra precaution. His enemies have threatened his rule for a long time." They followed the crowd further into the village, homes and shops lining either side of the path. Brigan was surprised at he sheer size of the kingdom, for he could see the castle at the top of a mighty hill. Surely a king could see every corner of his domain from such a high vantage point. Alaudiah's head swiveled back and forth, watching the people bustle about their daily lives. Children ran to and fro laughing and playing, women chatted at wells and carried baskets of food, clothing and items of their trade. Men loitered on street corners and outside tables, gambling and drinking merrily, or hard at work building structures, mending posts or carting various textiles. The two rounded a corner and paused in the middle of the street. Eyes wide and jaws dropped, they took in the scene before them. It had to be the largest marketplace they had ever seen! Rows and rows of wooden stands holding anything and everything from exotic fruit to live animals to weapons... Merchants displayed their hand-made work, villagers packed the place, yells from both buyers and sellers haggling over prices. Scantily clad women could be spotted here Nd there, smiling and beckoning at the men. Gypsies called out to unsuspecting villagers spouting off predictions and prophecies. Dogs barked and birds cooed and the air was slightly cloudy from so many feet stirring up dust.It was loud and colorful, and 'Laudia soaked it all in. Brigan whistled low and scanned for any vendors selling herbs and spices. They shared a look and ventured into the throng of people. It took almost an hour to find what they were looking for, a small tented stall in a far corner of the marketplace. An old woman dressed heavily in shawls stood under the tarp, filling a small vial with some powdery substance. 'Laudia hurried over to her stall, stepping under the tarp and making the woman aware of her presence.
"Do you sell medicinal herbs?" She asked. The woman looked up from her vial, eyed the girl warily before nodding her head. Brigan stepped under and went to stand next to his companion. He looked at the woman as she busied herself with another vial. Her mousy brown hair was thin and frizzy, skin worn and blotchy from the sun. The left side of her face seemed to droop, like she had suffered a stroke at some point. She put down the vial she was filling and waved a hand to the right side of the stand. Alaudiah went to work collecting various powders, dried plants and liquids they would or might need for their journey. Brigan dug around in his coat pockets for his money pouch.
'Laudia studied the remaining products, double checking her mental checklist in case she missed something. Finally she turned back to the vendor woman.
"Excuse me, do you have any Alkanet root?" She turned her head in the woman's direction but didn't look her directly in the eye. She always got peculiar reactions to her unusual eye color. The woman hummed under breath before shaking her head slowly back and forth. She spoke and her voice grated on 'Laudia's ears.
"I'm afraid that plant don't grow in these here parts, the summers are too hot for them to thrive." Brigan and Alaudiah shared a look. He cleared his throat and asked,
"Are there any other vendors who might possibly carry Alkanet? Whether its whole or dried isn't very important." Again the old woman shook her head. 'Laudia stepped closer to her, her voice letting slip the seriousness of their situation.
"Please, it's very important that we find this flower. Are you certain that there is no one who might carry Alkanet?"
"I'm sorry mum, but I have no knowledge of any merchants who carry that plant. It's hasn't grown in these parts since before the first freeze. You'll find most of the delicate herbs are hard to come by in these lands. I can't think of any shamans in the area who trade for either. As for what you've already picked, your packages will be seven rubes." She held out her hand expectantly, eyeing Brigan's money pouch. 'Laudia's heart clenched, if they couldn't find that flower it could mean serious trouble for Brigan. She turned her eyes toward his face, knowing his thoughts and fears were the same. His face mirrored her worry, his brow furrowed with the big question:
What do we do now?
Last edited by Laurellai1991; 03-07-2013 at 09:13 PM.