Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNo WriMo Day 13: Revelations

Chapter 13: Revelations

The crimson star was emblazoned on the dirty white of his breastplate.  The guardsman stood alert and proud of his station.  Hard work and loyalty had earned his trusted place at the sides.  Loyalty that meant death if broken.  

His name was William, but as far as anyone knew he was You.  You there as fingers pointed.  You by the door as he stood by the door.  You seemed to fit him well.  He did not need a name.  William the guardsman was a silent, obedient man.

He had found himself situated inside the Thunderer’s main chambers this evening.  He knew this meant sensitive talk was going to be had.  Talk that only occurred in the confidence of trusted men.  Talk that also meant a chance of violence.  William had dressed the part; drab in understatement. He needed no ornament on the handle of his sword for the sharpened blade hiding within the sheath to do it’s business.  The daggers tucked in the small of his back stood backup.

It wasn’t long after he was positioned that the procession came in, lead by the women.  William took note of this.  It was unlike the Thunderer to play second fiddle.  William knew of the Fravashi, but had not had the privilege of meeting them.  Yet, there was no doubt who the women were.  They were followed, closely, by the Thunderer who took his customary seat at the head of the table.

Following the tall man came a shorter, older man covered draped and hidden within a blackened robe.  His demeanor was disconnected, uncaring.  William knew him well:  Shrake of the Krakens.  William did not care for his presence, but did not deny the value of the information he so often collected.  Still, the man disturbed him deeply.  Evil creature.

The next party to enter the room was that of an envoy from the King.  The crimson stars on bright white gave way to neatly cropped hair cuts and

The last group William did not know anything about, which meant he needed to find out everything in the short time it took them to get to their seats.  Their shorter height was the first clue they were not midlanders. Olive skin meant westerner, from the islands of the jade sea.  Odd dress-like garments covered their bodies, buttoned up the center with large wooden buttons.  Ornamental hair pieces adorned their hair, most with which appeared to collect in a hornlike structure at the back top of the head.  No visible weapons.  William didn’t relax.

A traditional meal of lamb and root vegetables was served.  Conversation flowed freely among the varied groups.  The foreigners spoke mixed dialect that stuck their home language of the island nation with that of the main lands.  The letter h seemed to present a challenge however.  William took note of this.  Either they had been on the main land for some time or they were attempting to play the part.

Midway through the meal, William noted one of the foreigners favoring a single side.  William did not let the alarm show in his face.  He waited for the shift in position to come with the guard opposite him.  As he crossed to the other side of the doorway, he discovered the reason for the favor.  The man’s hand appeared to be missing, replaced by a wad of bandages.  The wrappings looked fresh, possibly hiding something?  William didn’t venture to guess and stored the information in the forefront of his mind.

After the meal was finished, the envoy from the King did not wait to start addressing their concerns to the room at large.  They started in immediately with taxes from the new Alban holdings and provincial domain the Thunderer had taken on his travels down the eastern coast.  The Thunderer was visibly uninterested in the conversation, nodding agreeably with the majority of the statements.  

William noted Shrake peering out from his cavernous hood towards the foreigners.  At first it was little more than looks, but then William noted it moved to a savage monitoring.  William pieced it together when the man with the bandaged stump of an arm winced at Shrake’s stare.  William was disturbed by the revelation, but again showed no change in his stature or face.  

After the tax discussion ended, the King’s envoy excused itself from the table.  Their crimson clothes flowed out of the room, splitting the two guardsmen.  William counted their departure, four out the door.

The Thunderer broke the silence left by the envoy’s departure.  “Your boy there did a hell of a job.”  The Thunderer thumbed towards the man with the bandaged hand.  “Quite well considering the years he spent under the watch of good old Orten Ben Fareen here in this dump.  My apologies for his hand.”  The Thunderer paused as if waiting for acknowledgement of the apology.  He continued, “and of course for any disgraces from my men.  Clydas knew not of the arrangement and Shrake.  Well Shrake and the Krakens just do what is asked.”

The foreigners didn’t respond.  In turn they stood and bowed in the direction of the Thunderer and then again towards the Fravashi.  William counted off their paces to the door, thirteen.  He counted as the party left, four.  The Fravashi and Shrake remained with the Thunderer.

Once the door swung closed and the footsteps faded into the far hall, the six women spoke as one.  “The Flamerunner comes.”  The Thunderer eyed the women and then Shrake.  A nod from Shrake confirmed the statement.  “Let us make preparations then.  I suppose he will want that brother of his back.  Shrake I do hope your lovely boys left him in one piece.”

Word count: 13,038

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