Astelbania Chronicles: The Vale

The way out of Devensheer was quiet.  And 'quiet' in the eyes of a thief meant suspiciously unorthodox.  It did not help that his travelling companion was a young woman who sat on the very precipace of her sanity. 

Since they'd left the castle, she'd taken to silence and staring straight forward with little regard for anything or anyone that passed her.  Bahl let her stew - there were far more important matters that he was to bear in mind, and listening to the ramblings of a frightened little girl was not part of his task; so far as he was concerned.

"Be patient with the girl, Bahl, my friend," the prince had beseeched him, "She is frightened, and frankly far out of her element.  She's a farm girl and a merchant's daughter.  She's likely never been far beyond the outer-villages,"

Bahl had agreed, and thankfully, Falina had not given him reason to pause for pep-talks or the like.  Truth be told, and it was difficult for Bahl to admit, she was far more stalwart than he would have guessed.  Bahl guessed that her stubborn pride had much to do with it.

As Falina absently rode ahead, Bahl called after her,
"Falina," he said, "Please, do not ride away too far .. there have been rumours of raiding parties of hobbs attacking and stealing from riders in the night,"

Falina reined her mount, and shot the tiefling a dirty stare, "And yet, here we are, tempting the Fates,"

"Fates have little to do with Hobbs with an itching for human girl flesh and gold," Bahl shrugged, "Leaving the city by night was necessary to make good the ruse of your death,"

The mere mention of the subject, made Falina's face twist with pain, and her jaws clench.

"I am sorry," Bahl found himself saying, "Sometimes, I am insensitive to matters of family.   But be assured that yours is being well cared for... "

"But my father believes that i am dead!" Falina's words were slick with malice.


There was an uncomfortable silence between them, and Bahl began to sense that this, of all his assignments, would be the most irritating.  Narry did he speak before the girl jumped down his throat with hurt 'feelings' and matter of a weak womanly heart.  He sighed, inwardly, and rubbed at his eyes.

With the darkness well upon them, and the cresent moons high into the night sky, Bahl's night-eyes were wide peering into the dark shadows of the forest.

"Tell me," Falina started.
"If i can, milady,"
"Firstly, enough with the damned titles," she shot.
"As you wish; I shall call you by name," Bahl's eyes rolled heavenward.
"Good!" Falina offered a curt nod - finally something she COULD control - her own Gods Damned name!!  "Secondly, is that demon blood of your so cold?"

"I beg your pardon?" Bahl was at a lost - again, the womanly mind at work upon him - it was simpler to simply bed women when they did not speak, for the moment their mouths worked their spell upon him, he found himself confounded. 

She explained, "You said that you were insensitive to matter of family."


"Yet, your mother served the same masters as you - and you seem hells-bent," she bit her tongue at the ill-timed pun. If Bahl was aware of its significance he'd ignored it, "to follow your mother's calling almost without question.."

"I was not close to my mother," Bahl said simply, "Nor was I very friendly with my father,"

It was Falina's turn to be confused. "But the prince .. and the king seemed to ...."

"His Majesty the King and his Son are excellent salesmen, Falina," Bahl's lips curved into a knowing smile. "It is true, yes, my mother was a loyal servant... right to her, "supposed" death - and if she IS still alive, then she prooves, even now, that she is loyal to only ONE thing ... ONE MAN... to her King, by forsaking her family, her son and her chosen Mate, even, to protect the Patriarchy of Devensheer.  My father, for his part, well..." Bahl took a deep breath. 

Why was he even explaining this to this... this girl!!!?

"I do not wish to discuss this!" Bahl said shortly.
"But why not?"
He turned upon her, and his red-eyes flashed dangerously, "Because I do not WISH IT!!"

Falina leaned far back in her saddle, inadvertantly pulling hard upon the horse-reins, shufflinig her mount left and away from her tieflng companion.  And though, Bahl said nothng, Falina could see the sad reservation upon his face, whether he wished to admit it or not... and finally seeing a chink in the tiefling's armor, she allowed herself the one small victory and let the matter drop with a simple apology,

"I am sorry.  In our home, we talk about those things which hurt us.. and so, I find myself insensitive to your privacy," falina admitted.

"Then we are even," Bahl coughed, and rode ahead, into Darkwood Vale,  "Stay close -- we are not alone!"

Her pity changed to fear in an instant.
She hated all of this!

The End

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