Day 17 1912 words (11,397 total)
“Where are we going exactly?” Ilin asked Arenfinch while they rested.
“To find a wizard. You can’t defeat a wizard without another wizard.”
“Are there any wizards nearby?”
“There is one in the Muted Mists.”
“And who’s that?”
“Bovanich. He would be our best bet, since he has a strong dislike for Hilssur.”
“And why is that?”
“You ask a lot of questions.” Arenfinch stared at him flatly with a hint of annoyance in his voice. Ilin quickly shut up afterwards.
They quickly set out again until nightfall, when the pressure of the cloud became unbearable. Niserie’s hood was still pulled tightly over her head when Arenfinch stopped.
“I think it would be a good idea to take off that hood.”
Niserie looked up in alarm. Was he talking to her?
“Yes, I’m talking to you. Now, take off your hood.”
Niserie involuntarily turned to look at Fregodolf. He was staring at Arenfinch too.
“Sir, she doesn’t wish-”
“There is no need to call me sir, Fregodolf.”
Fregodolf stared at him. Maybe they were in a circle, but the truth was, they never actually introduced each other. So how would he have known his name? Arenfinch laughed when he saw Fregodolf’s confused face.
“I know more than you think I do. Now, Niserie. Take off your hood.”
“Arenfinch. She doesn’t-”
“There’s no point in hiding it.” Arenfinch cut him off rudely. “Do you think that hiding would prevent it? Fate it fate. There is not escaping fate.”
“Alright, I suppose.” He gave Niserie a nod and she slowly took of her hood. But this whole time, she felt immensely confused. Obviously they were talking about something. But what? And fate? When did fate come into the story?
As Niserie took off her hood, her hair began to glow again, sucking the darkness out of the plain. Everyone, but Arenfinch stared at it in wonder. Maybe Fregodolf had seen it once, but he still found it so captivating to watch. But Arenfinch seemed to never have gained the interest in the first place, carrying on.
“Stop staring and start walking. At this rate, we’ll be old men by the time we get to the mists.”
They turned away reluctantly and began trudging along again. This part of the plain was too rocky and they had to unmount their horses. At least Niserie’s hair got rid of the pressure. But it still didn’t get rid of the monotony of traveling, or the tiredness that came with it. At least though, they had plenty of food and water.
The first week passed by and they finally reached the edge of Corrin. A vast expanse of land extended beyond them, most of it was no longer enshrouded darkly by the cloud, but there days were still darker than normal. As they left Corrin behind, Ilin turned back to give it one last look. The grand plain was dark, as if a thunderstorm was brewing. He wouldn’t be seeing this plain for a while.
Canmer and Yalden bother showed up that morning. Brinovan felt a slight gladness in his heart. At least his comrades were still loyal to him. That morning, after a brief breakfast, they set out back across the plain, this time much better prepared. The ride back was difficult, but much better than the first time and they were received with a warm welcome. A small feast was thrown for them (which was quite a big thing for the Silienfauna, for organized events were not their thing) and they have a very nice welcome back celebration. It was a shame Fregodolf was missing all this and risking his life riding through some plain out there. But Brinovan was content. Maybe, if Fregodolf died, he would be the new hero. But that was a long ways off. Anyways, his plan didn’t need Fregodolf to die to become the new hero. Gaining that spot would be extremely easy now. Especially since multiple people had already asked him about Fregodolf and the girl.
Good luck Fregodolf. I hope you don’t die in vain.
Brinovan half sneered as he walked onto the platform. The crowd silenced.
“I am Brinovan, one of the five representatives sent to Luri.” There were cheers and claps. Brinovan waited for the noise to die down before continuing. “As you all know, there were five of us that set out originally. But only three have returned. You may be wondering. What happened to the other two? What happened to our hero, Fregodolf, and that incompetent girl?”
There were murmurs of agreement.
“Well, I am here to bring you bad news then.” He paused for effect. “Fregodolf as ran off with the girl and has abandoned his job and duty!”
There were gasps in the crowd.
“Impossible!” Someone shouted. “Fregodolf would never do that!”
There were series of shouts. Some disagreeing, but most were agreeing.
“You may think so. But you were all tricked!”
More noise. The crowd roared throughout the village and the peace was disrupted for a moment. Brinovan raised his arms and calmed the crowd down. He could feel success bubbling in his gut.
“Fregodolf, in his attempt to leave this country, volunteered to be a representative. Two days after we set out, he disappeared with the girl. When we arrived at the valley, we asked to send out search troops. They said that they found only traces of their tracks. There is a search party sent out north to go look for them. But as for now, Fregodolf and the girl are gone.”
There were mumbled throughout the crowd. Some people blamed it on the girl. Others said that Fregodolf was the problem, abandoning his people and his duty to go run off with a girl. But they were all thoroughly convinced. Brinovan chuckled silently. It was so easy to sway these people. After all the years of inexperience, they had become too naive and the world was too straightforward to them.
“What should we do?”
Someone shouted out.
“We need to organize and rise up.” Brinovan declared. “We must become strong. And defeat our enemies!”
There was a roar and a cheer. Brinovan scanned the crowd steadily. He couldn’t reveal his full plan yet. It was important it slowly ease his plan over the crowd. If he just set it out like this, they would fight against it and convincing them would be terribly hard. But if he could just grow to have the same reputation as Fregodolf use to have, then everything would be perfect and he would be the brave one. Brinovan the Brave. Such a great sounding name.
The meeting ended abruptly there and Brinovan stepped off the old wooden platform. Everything had gone so smoothly, he couldn’t help but grin. The only thing that had bothered him was the lack of the appearance of the Elder. Why wasn’t that old elf here? If he didn’t convince him, then he still wouldn’t be able to do anything big. A small pang of annoyance doused his excitement. He would have to find the Elder soon. He couldn’t let an old elf stop him from completing his plan.
Brinovan walked out of the town after the crowd dispersed with a small group of people following him. There were Canmer and Yalden of course. But also a few privileged others that he picked to help him in planning. They were mostly people that he previously knew, or he felt were trustworthy enough the listen to him and not give his plan away. They marched for three days deep into the forest until they reached Crypton’s Clearing, a small clearing in the forest where no trees grew. The land was either cursed or blessed, but there was no proof of either. Most people, being paranoid, avoided the clearing. But Brinovan thought that is was ridiculous. Anyways, this would be the best place to build his hidden base camp. Somewhere that everyone avoided.
“We will start here.” He proclaimed. “We must start building walls and towers, weapons and shields. Anything to aid us in our rise to power. We must defeat the weak and become the strong. No one will overcome us!”
There was a small cheer and they began to work. Only Canmer looked suspiciously around. Something was up and he didn’t like it. Especially not when it gave him a bad tingle in his gut.
“Why are we going over these?” Ilin groaned as he climbed over the rocks. The plain was now more rocky, with hills scattered throughout the land. It was a hard climb, even though nothing was too steep.
“If you want to go back, feel free.” Arenfinch said without a pause. “If you would like to know, this is the least rocky part of the land. Unless you want to travel over there.”
He pointed over to the east there shadows of steep mountains loomed in the light mist.
“Oh, no thanks.” Ilin quickly shut up and caught up with them again. After a week of traveling, he was exhausted. Every inch of his body felt sore and his feet felt like they would fall off any moment. As he walked, he slowly lagged behind again. He just couldn’t keep up to that Arenfinch. He just seemed to have endless energy. Fregodolf and Niserie didn’t seem to be affected by traveling too much and Hilian, being the great knight that he was, went through this before. Only he had never done any more walking than to go to the bakery to get bread. And now he really wished that he had done something better with his life than sit around thinking about adventures. Now that he was really on one, he felt miserable. Not the amazing rush of joy.
“Come on Ilin. We need to keep going.” Hilian turned back and urged him quietly. Ilin flushed as he realized that while he was thinking, he stopped walking.
“Oh, sorry.” He set out again. The tortuous rocky plain cut into his feet. But he plowed on. Ilin was not liking this journey too much so far.
After they had left the plain, the cloud had lightened immensely and the pressure had gotten lighter. Niserie pulled up her hood again, partly because she was cold but mostly because she hated all the attention. She hated attention in general and this attention? It was just abnormal. But now with the dark cloud gone, she didn’t have to worry about leaving her hood down again. Or the attention.
That night, they camped beneath a stone mountain.
“Next morning, we’ll be climbing this mountain.” Arenfinch announced. Ilin looked up and groaned. Niserie sighed tiredly. More walking and climbing to do. this was much more boring than tiring. But that poor kid Ilin. It must be so hard for him, riding for a week and then walking for two days.
“Stop groaning kid and get some rest. We have a long ways that travel tomorrow, unless you want to get stuck on the mountain at night. That’s not a very good idea. You don’t know what lives up there at night.” Arenfinch growled.
Ilin immediately laid down to sleep. He wasn’t going to argue with Arenfinch. He was the inexperienced one and Arenfinch obviously went through all this before. No point arguing with him. It would just be stupid.
Niserie looked at the poor boy, scrunched up in a ball trying to fall asleep. This really was hard for him.