Journey's Start

They are moving me. I don’t want to, but Mathias says it is improper for me to sleep in the same room as Luke. Ah well, I suppose he is right, not that we are doing anything inappropriate, it’s just that people might start thinking strangely of us if we keep on living like this. It has been a full year since dad died after all. Luke and I are both sixteen now! Even after being sixteen for a while I am still getting used to it.
Ah, there is Luke, “Luke! They’re moving me to the room next door; could you help me move my stuff?” As small an amount as that is; I asked more so that I could be with him as apposed to really needing help.
Luke’s face fell a little, “Well, uh, yeah I suppose.” He said, a hint of dejection in his voice, “So Mathias finally did it eh? He’s been threatening to move you for quite a while now…” he trailed off with a smirk.
“Yeah, he finally did, now I have to move all my things to the next door room. I suppose it is for the best though; can’t have people thinking we’re…well…you know.”
“Yes, I know,” he said, grinning from ear to ear, “I suppose it is.” We talked while we took my stuff to my room, then Luke set about to cleaning the room with me. It hadn’t been used in a long time, and the maid didn’t do a good job cleaning it up (she really doesn’t like me very much).
“Did you hear about the war up north?” Luke asked, “They say there is some great force rising up in the North…Ian says that that force is what I am going to save the world from. That I am the only one who can stop him, well, me and a company of followers I will gather.”
“I heard that there was something brooding up there, the maids don’t like the sound of it, they say there are dark times up ahead for us.” I said.
“Ian says I am as ready as I can be, without experience, to begin my quest which he has been preparing me for; and you are a competent swordswoman as well.” Luke commented, “I think we should start making plans to leave soon…to gather my group for whatever is to come. We can disguise it as a trip to see the world, as my grandfather would never allow me, the crown prince to go off on some ‘foolish’ quest.”
“You are taking me with you if you go.” I said, “I don’t care what you say or do, I am coming with you if I have to follow your five day old trail and travel day and night to catch up with you.” And if he tries to leave me he will be very sorry too. If he so much as thinks about it I’ll kill him.
“Of course! I couldn’t live without you near me! Not only that, but I am going to need you to keep me sane if only at the start of the journey when you and I will be the only people traveling.” Luke smiled.
Well, at least he knows his place, he isn’t going to be arguing with me any time soon, he he he. I love him. He knows me well enough to know that there is absolutely nothing he can do to change my mind, or get past the fact that I am coming with him; so he has learnt to accept it.
“When do we leave? And have you asked the king yet?”
“Yes, we are leaving to get to know our way around what will eventually be my kingdom; have to know the people after all, if I want to serve them fairly. And I will do it ‘alone’ so as not to be noticed and crowded by people as I enter towns. Of course you will be waiting for me just outside the city and we will ‘conveniently’ meet about a half a mile outside the city on the main road.”  Luke said with a smile.
“That’s nice, so when do you leave?”
“Later tonight.”
“But I won’t have time to pack! I need to get moving!” He did this on purpose, not telling me till now. Boys and their need for revenge, he must have known I would follow him no matter what.
“Yeah, you had better; don’t bother with food though, I’ve got enough food and money here to last us for several years to come, and not just us, but also at least two others!” Luke said.
“Just how much do you have?” I asked curiously.
“I have roughly ninety gold in smaller change.” He replied smugly. I just stared at him; that’s way more than enough gold to keep us and two others going for three years!
“And not only that, but I can use my healing arts for an income!” He said happily, “So even if we were robbed we could continue to survive!”
Then, looking a little guilty Luke asked, “Would you like some help packing?” That’s right, you look guilty, not telling me about our trip until I have only an afternoon in which to pack. Hmph. I nodded and we got to packing.
As twilight neared, Luke took my stuff down to the stables and saddled a horse for me. “Go about a half a mile outside the city on the main road, and wait for me; I promise you that I will meet you there.” Then, with a hug goodbye, I was off down the main road.
 I had been waiting at the side of the road for around an hour and he still hadn’t shown up. What if he tricked me? What if he took another way? If did then I’ll find him, I don’t care where he went, I’ll find him. And once I’ve found him, I’ll roast him alive. But I can’t be sure he didn’t just send me early to avoid suspicion. After all he did promise me that he would meet me here; and he has never ever broken a promise to me. I’ll give him a little while longer.
Finally! He’s here! Just a little ways away from me. He kept me waiting for two hours, so I think I’ll arrange a surprise for him as he passes by.
I hid in the bushes by the road and waited for Luke to pass by. Once he had, I quietly got on my horse and followed him. Once I was riding directly behind him I jumped off my horse, ran up to his, and pulled him off; scaring him so badly that he forgot to catch his footing and landed on his back, winded. That didn’t stop him however, form pulling out a knife as soon as he hit the floor. Once he saw me though he quickly put it away.
“Why did you scare me like that?!” He asked incredulously.
After I had finally stopped laughing and managed to get control of myself I told him, “Because you left me waiting here for almost two hours!”
“Any less and people would have gotten suspicious about us.” Was his only reply.
“You still could have told me! I was beginning to wonder if you had just left me out here and taken some other path!”
“Emily! I promised you I would come didn’t I? Have I ever broken a promise to you?” He asked, hurt showing through the mask he had put on to cover it.
“I’m sorry Luke, but you did keep me waiting for two hours you know.” I really did feel bad for suspecting him of plotting to leave me after he had promised he would meet me. I should have believed him, but I couldn’t help myself, though again, I suppose I shouldn’t have told him.
“I guess it’s ok, I probably should have told you that I would be a while, that I was sending you out two hours early to avoid suspicion. I’m sorry, it’s my fault really.”  Oh no, now he’s blaming himself! Ugh, it isn’t entirely his fault. What a way to start this mission!
“Luke, I really don’t want to start this out fighting, it wasn’t all your fault, you did promise, I should have taken you at your word, can we move on to a happier subject?”
“Alright, there is a nicer inn a couple miles down the road, you want to stay the night there? Or should we just find a place to set up camp?” He asked.
“Well, that depends on where we will be traveling, if we are going to be around mostly populated areas, then I think we should camp, if we are going to be going through terrain that is mostly uninhabited, then we should probably not use up our supplies but instead go to the inn. The problem with the inn is that there are a lot of people there, so you cant show a fat purse, unless you want it stolen, yet you can’t let any of your money out of your sight either, for the same reason. So I hope you have at least one extra money bag.”
“I do, so the inn it is. But first, I would like to go shopping, we are both wearing castle clothing, it identifies us as rich, so we need to get clothing that is both durable, and not at all showy.”
Once we arrived at the town, we made a bee-line for the marketplace. There Luke bargained for a good, sturdy, fur-lined cloak for himself, and a green, well sewn hunter’s cloak for me. Then he found several sets of decent clothes for us. Once we had the matter of clothing settled Luke bought a thong of leather and a special set made to put a layer of some metal onto something as well as a little bit of steel.
“Why did you get the leather and metal set?” I asked very curiously. What in the world could he want with those?
“To disguise this, he said pulling out a very well-made saber. If you go around with this, people will know you are rich, so we have to make at least the handle look more common. The leather is for the grip, the steel is to cover the hilt.” Luke commented, a touch smugly. He thinks of everything!
“Oh.” I said, knowing I sounded like an idiot but not knowing what else to say.
After that he bought a quiver full of arrows designed specifically for the longbow. The shopkeeper eyed him up and down, “If you can actually use the longbow lad, there are those as would like to hire you; they are willing to pay you a very reasonable amount if yer interested.” He said.
“No thank you sir, I have business of my own to attend first, maybe later though.” Luke said, trying to sound like he was actually considering the offer.
“If you decide you want employment just you come on over to my shop and I’ll arrange for you to meet a potential employer.” The shopkeeper hopefully offered.
“Don’t worry, if I ever am in need of employment around here, I’ll come to you.” Luke said, in a voice that didn’t promise much.
After that Luke led me to a big inn, paid the owner for two adjacent rooms and a dinner and breakfast for two as well as a place for the horses. After Luke had paid we went to our rooms to put our stuff down. Upon arriving there we discovered that there was a door between our rooms as well as one linking the outer one to another room. Luke immediately put two wooden wedges he had bought beneath the door linking my room to the other, unknown room, as well as the one linking mine to the hallway. Then, after locking his door, we went down to the taproom to order dinner. After we ate, we went to our rooms as it was getting very late. Just before going to bed Luke went to check on  the horses. When he came back he looked grim.
“The stable boy says there was a group of strange men who were talking about robbing the new arrivals in the stables earlier. If they do come, I want you to stay in your room and don’t come out until I say so, you got that?” He asked seriously. Did he really just say that? I can’t believe he just said that.
“Do you really think I can just stand by while you get attacked; because if you do, you are completely and utterly wrong.” I said, also in complete seriousness. Luke’s face fell, he knew I would never do that, but that didn’t stop him from hoping.
“I suppose not, but I do have a good reason,” as I opened my mouth to protest Luke held up a finger, “just hear me out; if you come into the fight I will have to worry about who I am taking down, I really don’t want to accidently kill you instead of one of the robbers. You have to remember it will be pitch black so I won’t be able to see who is who.”
I hadn’t considered that. I didn’t want to hurt him either. “I-I suppose I probably should stay,” I said, very reluctantly.
“I’m glad you finally see it my way for once!” he exclaimed happily.
“But don’t expect me not to come in if I think you are losing.” I said warningly.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less.” Luke replied in a placating tone. It worked…mostly; and we both got into bed and eventually fell asleep despite ourselves.
I woke up very early in the morning to a scratching at Luke’s door. I looked at his bed, he was sitting up in bed staring at the door. He looked at me, saw I was awake, then got out of bed, picked up his dagger from the bedside, and went to wait at the door as the people outside picked the lock. I got up and picked up my saber and waited just out of sight incase Luke needed me.
Then, suddenly, the door burst open, I saw Luke kill the first one as he rushed through, his body tripped the second person as he came through. A third jumped over the two fallen and started to attack Luke. Luke, who had received lessons in knife fighting and done very well at it. Luke managed to take him down, only to find himself surrounded by three more men. He proceeded to valiantly attack them as well, but he got first his hand cut, then another cut appeared on his leg. Soon, after there were only two men left, they managed to subdue him.
“I aught to stick you boy,” said one man holding a knife up menacingly, “that was John you just killed, and I don’t appreciate that, he was my best friend!” Then, his knife poised to strike, “Now it’s time to make you pay!”
Then, the knife fell from his hand, and he stared at a sword point sticking out from between his ribs. “Not if I stick you first.” I said, putting my mouth close to his ear. Then, I quickly pulled my saber out of his chest and charged the other one, he only had a club and I managed to knock him out pretty quickly.
I hurried over to Luke to see if he was badly hurt, the cut to his leg was very deep, but his hand had only been grazed, he also had acquired more cuts that I didn’t see in the darkness; though none of them were very bad. I was just worried about his leg. I tore a piece of cloth from one of the shirts Luke had taken with him from the castle and wrapped it tightly around his leg to stop the bleeding. I wrapped another around his hand. Then we went and woke the innkeeper to tell him about the invasion. He came in with a candle and saw the five men, four dead one unconscious.
“You two younglings killed these men?” He asked incredulously, “we have been trying to catch these men for a long time! No one has been able to stop them before! Let alone two young teenagers such as yourselves!” He said, looking at us in a new light, I realized I was still holding my now-bloody saber, and self-consciously held it behind my back. “I see you are a sword maiden then!” he laughed, “You know, there are many people around looking to hire a group of guards to take them to Paten; and I would be happy to recommend you two to them. After all, if you two could take these men all by yourselves at night, just imagine what you could do in a group of other trained warriors in plain daylight!”
“Um, where exactly is Paten, I’ve never heard of that city before.” Asked Luke. He was actually considering it? I thought we had a mission to accomplish! And we have absolutely no need of money right now!
“Ah, it is a city in the country that borders Iglon to the north; I believe that they call it Menelorn. Are you two perhaps interested in the offer?” He asked curiously.
Before I could say anything Luke butted in, “Yes, we are, that is where we were headed anyways.” He said, looking at me pointedly; I looked at my boots and let Luke do the talking, considering he was the one leading here that was probably the best thing to do. “Oh, and could you tell whoever it is that I can use the longbow proficiently as well please?” Luke added to the innkeeper as an after thought. The innkeeper just stared for a while, nodded, then quickly left.

The End

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