Meetings 4

At sunrise, the gates of Dunnval, barred overnight, creaked open. “Are they here?” someone inside whispered audibly. “We’re right here,” Tyrel said, standing up and stretching. He was feeling somewhat the better for the nap Madoc had insisted he take between sunset and moonrise, when it was too dark to navigate, and for the plentiful berries and water, but he was very much looking forward to this being over. “The Chief is waiting in the Hall,” someone else said. The warriors of Dunnval fell into a kind of informal living corridor from the gates to the Hall; Tyrel reflected that …

Continue reading

Meetings 3 pt2

(chapter continued from previous post) It didn’t matter. Nothing excused setting all his warriors on the two of them. And no matter what, Madoc was his shieldmate, his brother, and his truest friend. “Can’t you see?” Madoc sounded puzzled. “I think I’m just drained bad from before,” Tyrel improvised. Working out what had happened needed to wait. “Then stay behind me. I wish we had something for you to eat. Or that other flask of beer.” “So do I,” Tyrel said feelingly. The legs of a ghost warrior appeared through the hole. Madoc attacked, ignoring the arrows that came down …

Continue reading

Meetings 3 pt1

Dawn found them both somewhat stiff, but otherwise ready to face the day. Madoc, chewing thoughtfully on a bite of sausage, flexed his left hand slowly. “That’s strange,” he said, once he’d swallowed. “It doesn’t hurt. At all. Not numb or anything, it just feels… normal, I guess.” Tyrel finished the last of his bread and rearranged himself so he could reach. He unwrapped the bandage around his brother’s arm cautiously, but with increasing perplexity. The last of it came free, baring the unmarked skin of Madoc’s lower arm. Only the dark dried bloodstains on the bandage, and the lingering …

Continue reading

Meetings 2

In the Hall, Tyrel faced his father, Madoc half a step behind him to his left. Everyone else currently in Dunnval, including some of the thralls who could find excuses to do so, had arranged to be present, witnesses to the beginning of the Rite. “Tyrel,” Taber said. “Are you prepared?” Tyrel nodded. “I am.” “You have until the third dawn from now to return with incontestable evidence of having spent the night in Banvard and proven yourself to those who remain there. If you succeed, you will be greeted as heir to the title and rights and responsibilities of …

Continue reading

Meetings 1

Four figures faced each other, weapons at the ready, poised and alert. Two, side by side, were young men, not long past their teens, though the comfort and ease with which they moved suggested long familiarity with their weapons. The taller and fairer bore a sharply curved bronze short sword in his right hand, and he held his left hand, covered by a heavy bronze-plated leather glove, away from his body to the side. The other, slighter of build and darker, carried a pair of katari, wide blades mounted on H-shaped hilts to position them over his knuckles; the one …

Continue reading