Sunday, 29 January 2012
The following is the latest chapter in the epic and currently untitled story I have been working on in hopes of making a million dollars so that I can retire from my current place of employment.
Here is what you need to know:
The Kingdom of Damorey has been invaded by the Eastern Empire. The King is away (possibly dead), and the Princess, his sister, has been taken prisoner. Her husband (Jakob, commonly referred to by myself as The Dude) is apparently dead, executed by the Imperial soldiers.
In the capital, two of The Dude's friends (and some servants of The Dude who are with them) have decided to start a rebellion, but have not yet done much rebelling. One of them, Edwin, was taken prisoner by the Imperial soldiers, but somehow released and returned. (See: Edwin, Captured and Rescued).
Thanks to the help of Thomas, a healing mage, Edwin is on the way to recovery, but his capture causes Thom to rethink the idea of rebellion because he doesn't wish to lose any more friends. This section is mostly his rambling thoughts.
(Also, HERE is a summary of the story as a whole, so you can read the other chapters if you feel like it).
In which Thom begins to hear a voice…
When a combination of magic, potions, and exhaustion had returned Edwin to sleep, Thomas sat beside the bed, a grim expression upon his face. For quite some time, he sat in silence, and the sun rose higher in the sky, the dawn passing into daylight hours.
The door opened quietly, and the young man known as Matthew peered around it with a pair of concerned and questioning eyes. Thom at last now got to his feet and walked to the door, passing into the hallway and shutting the door behind him.
“No sign of anyone?” he asked, to which Matthew shook his head.
“Nothing,” he answered. “We’ve been keeping watch, round the grounds, but there’s been nothing out of the ordinary. Regular patrols, that’s all.”
Thom nodded and moved to continue down the hallway, heading for the stairs. “Whatever made them come after him, there’s no reason to believe they won’t be back again. We can’t stay here much longer.”
“Where do we go, then?” Matt asked.
Thom shrugged. “No idea.”
They emerged into the small kitchen then and found that Robert was nearly finished preparing breakfast. The scent of frying eggs and bacon grease mingled with fresh bread that was at that moment being pulled from the oven.
Fredrick was sitting at the small wooden table, looking as though it had been a great effort for him to rouse himself from bed. His hair was in an very untidy state, sticking in all directions. As Thomas entered, he immediately got to his feet and made an effort to flatten it.
Robert turned from the oven to set a basket of hot rolls upon the table, covered with a cloth napkin. “How is he doing, sir?” he asked. “Should I make something special?”
Thom shook his head. “He sleeps, for now,” he replied, taking a seat upon the bench beside the table. “What he needs most now is rest.”
The cook nodded, returning to the stove, and Fredrick took his seat again. “What’d they do to him?” he asked in a timid voice.
“Nothing pleasant,” Thom answered vaguely. He sighed heavily, and poured himself a cup of tea from the kettle in the center of the table. “I don’t know why they took him, or how he got back here.”
“Is it possible that he escaped on his own?” Robert asked as he set down plates of bacon and eggs upon the table. “Walked back here and collapsed on the doorstep?”
“If he did, he has no memory of doing so,” Thomas replied. “He says someone carried him here.”
“Someone who?” Matthew asked. “And how’d they get past, when Joodia and I were keeping watch?”
“I don’t know,” Thom said again.
For some time, all was quiet but for the sounds of chewing and gulping, and the occasional clank of forks upon plates. After a few bites, Fredrick set down his fork.
“Does this mean that there’s someone else on our side?” he asked. All eyes turned toward Thom for his thoughts.
The healer sipped his tea with a thoughtful frown.
With heavy steps, Thomas returned to the upstairs chambers of the house, mind filled with thoughts. Was it safe to remain here? Where else could they go?
He pushed open the door to the room where Edwin lay sleeping, taking care to move slowly in order to prevent the usual loud squeak that commonly accompanied an entrance.
There was the quiet sound of a chair scraping upon wooden floorboards.
Thom paused in the doorway, wondering if he had imagined the noise. There was no one in the room but Edwin, who had drifted into a somewhat restful sleep, thanks to a healthy dose of potion to assist in the journey.
The chair beside the bed did look as though it was a bit farther away than it had been when he’d left, but perhaps he had imagined it. Perhaps the mystery behind Edwin’s return had served to fuel feelings of paranoia.
He sighed and rubbed his head, feeling tired despite the fact that he had gotten a good night’s sleep. Perhaps it was due to the magic he’d used, he thought absently, and sank into the flimsy wooden chair with a sigh.
“Now what?” he wondered aloud.
Edwin of course said nothing, but went on sleeping. He had rolled onto his side and was looking quite peaceful. The only signs of his brief imprisonment were the red marks and shallow indentations around his wrists.
Now what indeed, said the voice of reason, so clear that it seemed to be speaking aloud. Is this a rebellion, or isn’t it?
Rebellion, Thom thought, and sighed again. “I’m not sure rebellion is what we should be doing anymore, Ed,” he said to his sleeping friend. “What has it accomplished so far, other than to get you hurt?”
What will keeping silent accomplish, but to get more people hurt?
A few moments passed before Thom looked up from his thoughts. This voice had sounded so clear that he was almost certain it was spoken aloud, come from someone standing quite close to him indeed. He looked around the room, and saw no one there.
“Maybe I should get some sleep.”