Fears Confirmed

Upon entering the inn, Axbrand lead Will to a table in the far corner.

"You stay here, I'll be back soon."

Before Will could question him, Axbrand had already dissapeared into the throng of people crowding the small inn. Will sighed and sat down, looking around at the occupants of the inn. Most of them he recognised as men from his village; farmers, farriers and butchers returned from a hard day working and now relaxing in the company of their friends over a pint of ale.

Axbrand soon returned, leading with him an older man with wispy white hair and a short beard to match. His skin was brown and weather beaten, with deep wrinkles creasing his old skin, but the light in his dark green eyes contrasted with hiw wizened appearance. Will knew him, he was Doroon, the oldest member of the village council and a deeply respected member of the community. Doroon looked at Will searchingly for a few moments before speaking, his deep voice full of authority.

"Where did you come by that sword lad?" he asked, looking expectantly at Will for a reply.

Will swallowed, "I won it sir. Fair and square."

"From whom did you win it might I ask? I don't think many men carry swords like that in East Riding. Tell me everything."

Still unable to meet Doroon's eyes, Will told him the story of what had happened in the forest that morning, of the strange man emerging from the shadows, the ensuing fight and then his own escape through the forest. As he spoke, Doroon's eyes grew troubled. When Will finished speaking, the elder turned to Axbrand and said quietly:

"Take Will home, then summon the council. Tell them it is a matter of great urgency and that we must meet at once." He sighed and looked at the sword in Axbrand's meaty hand, the blade gleaming eerily in the light of the inn's fire. "We've seen this coming for years, but I never thought I would live to see it."

The End

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