Astelbania Chronicles: The Journey Begins

The night was dark, the twin moons at only a quarter each hanging in the sky above as the two riders exited the gates of Devensheer and rode, horses' hooves pounding the dusty road, west.

The two robed figures moved in and out of shadow, blending in at times so that the could not be seen, the only lelling of their passage being the hoofbeats that sounded as if a giant's heart were rapidly approaching to bursting.

Neither spoke, yet the silence was not comfortable. There was a waiting about them as if, at any moment, they may be seized upon and kept from their planned journey.

True, the larger figure's tense silence spoke of watchfullness and the smaller's of fear but both chose not to break the emptiness about them that cloaked them as much as the night and their robes.

Falina's thoughts were jumbled and even the several hours before nightfall while she was getting ready had not given her time to process or come to grips with the crazy path her life had veered off on.

Practicallity was her watchword, observation and logic were her bylaws. This situation seemed to have nothing of her old comforts and all of her worst fears saturated into it's deepest corners. She was feeling very much off kilter and she was not enjoying the feeling at all.

They had told her to get rest for the long night's journey. She had looked at them as if they had lost their minds. Or maybe she had. Was this all a delusion or a fever? Had she fallen ill or been injured somehow on the way to market? Was a healer even now trying to reach her far into a coma that she could not break out of.

Thinking back on when she first reached Devensheer Castle and the pinch that she had applied to herself and how real that had felt she doubted it.

No, this was reality. It wasn't solid and firm and planned. In spite of a steady and plain future she had always seen for herself, and accepted without question, there was no foresight she could apply to this situation.

She was floundering and she knew it and the sensation was a sufficating one. What was worse is that she knew her companion was aware of her distress and that grated on her nerves to no end.

If Falina had a weakness of character it was the fact that she could not stand for anyone to see her weaknesses. She had never missed the irony in that thought but accepted it was true. She would do almost anything rather than have someone see her as weak in any way and it was this feeling that, in this situation, she was the weakest link, that had her teeth on edge.

She did not know how long they had ridden but it could not have been too long for their horses were not yet showing a strain at the accelerated pace when Bahl slowed his horse, Falina matching him with the expertise of someone who had ridden all of her life.

"We are well away from the city and will continue at a more sedate pace," He instructed not putting the matter out for discussion.

She merely nodded and followed him. She was lost and it was all she could do. Gods how she hated this!

The End

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