(( This week’s prompt was a story about a journey. This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Knights of Naren: The Sword. It takes place at one of the stops along the journey to retrieve a stolen sword. As part of working on the second draft, I’ve been rewriting chapters. I figured since I had to rewrite it and it was about a journey that this week was a good time to work on this chapter. ))
They arrived in Kingsfall, the largest city of central Naren, and Deydesli was distracted by the markets and shops that they passed. Unfortunately, the sun was low in the sky, and most of the shops were closing for the night. She made Tellerion promise they would look around a bit in the morning before heading further south to Moressley. Tellerion didn’t like the idea as it would slow them down, but decided it would be best to do it now. After they had the sword, there would be no time for stopping. They stayed at one of the nicer inns near a large market area that night.
Tellerion woke early the next morning eager to get started on the day. He still hoped to reach Moressley that night, even if there was a considerable distance to travel after shopping. He knocked on the door of the room that Deydesli was staying in. “Dey, are you awake?” he asked in a hushed voice at the door. At first he thought she didn’t hear him, but he dared not speak louder as he didn’t want to wake the other people staying at the inn. Luckily, she had heard the knock. The door creaked open.
She was already dressed, and her blond curls done up in a ponytail. Her long ears were alert. “Tellerion, what is it?”
Tellerion was a bit embarrassed by how disheveled he must look. He had only taken the time to throw on a shirt and pants before going to knock on her door. He wasn’t even wearing shoes yet! “Oh, I was just wondering if you were awake. I’d like to start our shopping as soon as the market opens for the day.”
Deydesli smiled as she ushered him inside the room and closed the door, “I’m ready. I was having trouble sleeping. I’m worried a bit. So many things could go wrong.” She lowered her voice, “I’ve seen Lord Miray arriving to Moressley with the sword late this morning. There’s no way we’ll beat him to the castle like you wanted to. I’m not sure it would have been a good idea to pass him on the road anyway, not after what we saw happened to that poor man from Westerfaire.”
Tellerion frowned, “I suppose you’re right, but I’m sure we could have passed around them if we had managed to move faster. I really wanted to see where he puts it.”
“I’m not sure you would have been able to, even if you were there. As we get closer, I have a better idea of the size of the castle, and it’s rather large. I may be able to see where the sword is, if we’re lucky. The good news is, I have a really good feeling that they’re looking for a baker. We should know if we hear something at the market or not.”
“You’re just trying to make me want to go shopping.” Tellerion smiled.
She grinned back, “As it so happens, I have a more important purpose for shopping this morning, and it doesn’t involve overhearing gossip.”
He raised a brow.
“For the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to puzzle out how we’ll be able to communicate with each other while you’re in the castle.”
“Can’t I just go see you?”
“I was hoping that would be the way of things, but Lord Miray keeps all of his servants inside the castle. I’m not sure why, but only his trusted guards are allowed to leave. Anything you need for baking, or anything else is put on a list and brought in from the outside.”
“How do you know all this?”
Deydesli replied, “I’ve been watching the future possibilities. As I come closer to the castle, I can see more of the details. You need to be very careful in there, Tellerion. There’s something else too. I can’t see it though. It’s like it’s hidden behind fog, but there can’t be fog inside.”
“Is it the strong magic you thought might be there?”
“Worse. I think it’s a mage.”
“I thought you said he wasn’t allowed one.”
“Maybe things have changed. The book I found that in is a few years old. All I know is I feel like there are spells at work inside the castle, but I can’t tell for sure.”
“I doubt Thril Gandir would forgive him that soon.”
“I doubt it too, but I’m pretty sure someone is there who can cast magic.”
“Do you think it could be someone like you, a rogue mage without an adahi?”
“I don’t know, but speaking of having an adahi, I may need you to pretend to be mine.”
“Pretend to be an adahi?” Tellerion frowned, but kept his voice down. It was a grave offense in most city states, and especially bad when accompanying a rogue mage.
“Yes. I’ve exhausted myself trying to view as many possibilities about this as I can. The people running the magical artifact shop are going to notice I have the ability to cast magic. If it’s the younger one attending my purchase, he will say nothing. If it’s the older one, he will question me on the purchase and ask if you are my adahi. If you say yes, all will be fine. Neither of them are too interested in having to deal with the authorities.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t go to this shop.”
“They have some things we need. There’s a special type of mirror that can be enchanted to another of the same type of mirror with a special spell. It then can show the other person and picks up the vibration of voice and such and sends that as well. Normally, they’re far from perfect. It may be difficult to understand each other, but since you’ll be stuck in the castle until it’s time to leave permanently, it may be our only means of communication.”
“Can you do that kind of enchantment?”
Deydesli shook her head, “I can’t, but they have some that are already done. We should be able to spare the coin for them. I brought a bit of my own to help out with our expenses.”
Tellerion nodded, “That was a good idea. I suppose you knew ahead of time that you’d need it.”
Deydesli shook her head again, “It’s not always like that. I guess it’s because I never learned the proper spells for it, but I can’t cast for long before it becomes very tiring. I can’t always control it either. Sometimes I hope to see a possibility about one thing and get something completely unrelated. Other times I’m not even trying and it just happens. Those times worry me the most because while I’m seeing something else, I draw a blank here. If it ever happens in front of another mage, I’m sure they’d notice.”
“Is it dangerous to go to the market then? This is a large city, Dey. I don’t want to accidentally run into a mage and have you sent off to Thril Gandir for punishment.”
“I’ve exhausted every bit of my magic trying to see the possibilities ahead of us. It only happens randomly like that if I haven’t focused on invoking it myself for a while. We’ll be fine in the market.”
Tellerion raised a brow, “Shouldn’t you be too tired to go shopping then? You’ve exhausted your magic and didn’t sleep well.”
Deydesli grinned, “I’m awake enough. You’re not getting out of this, Tellerion.”
Tellerion nodded, “I should go get ready then. We could have breakfast downstairs before heading out.”
Tellerion met Deydesli downstairs twenty minutes later. The innkeeper’s wife brought them eggs and toast, and they said little over breakfast, worried that the innkeeper’s wife may overhear anything they spoke of, and neither of them wanted to be in trouble for plotting against the Lord to the south, even if the rumors were correct in that the Lord of Kingsfall hated his southern neighbor.
Soon, they were heading to the market. Deydesli stopped at nearly every stall, looking over everything, but buying little. Tellerion could tell by the look in her eye that she wanted to buy more than she did. One small purchase she allowed herself was a brightly colored scarf for her hair. She spent the most time at a jeweler’s stall. The jeweler did his best to talk her into buying a necklace, but in the end, she walked away without it despite the jeweler claiming that he had offered her his absolutely lowest price on it.
A few blocks away from the inn, they came upon a magic curio shop. Deydesli glanced at Tellerion, “Are you ready? Stand up straight and act important and protective.”
Tellerion nodded. He felt he was already standing up straight, but he threw his shoulders back and tried to walk with an air of importance. He followed her into the shop.
He tried not to frown upon seeing the older man behind the counter. He stood near Des as she did all the talking, asking to see the mirrors she had spoken of. As she had predicted the old shopkeeper questioned her. “You’re a mage, aren’t you?”
Deydesli nodded, “I am.”
The old man glanced at the mirrors he had taken out for her to look at then glanced at Tellerion before looking back at Deydesli. “Most mages are taught this enchantment at Thril Gandir. We don’t get many mages coming in to buy our items.”
“I was never very good at enchantment. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.” She answered as she slid one of the mirrors out of its protective covering. They were all kept in thick padded bags. Tellerion assumed it was to keep them from transmitting the sound on their own. The mirror that Deydesli was currently inspecting was a small handheld mirror, no bigger than her palm. It had a small decorative handle but was otherwise rather plain.
The old man grunted, “Your weakness is in the simplest spells.” He looked at Tellerion again, “Are you her adahi?”
“I am.” Tellerion answered.
“Must be an easy job for you then.” The old man seemed to be laughing, but he continued with the sale, exchanging the plain-looking mirrors for the silver coins from Dey’s purse.
Tellerion was glad when they finally left. They started walking back towards the inn, wandering their way through the market. Deydesli continued stopping occasionally at stalls, but never spent too long at any of them.
She stopped at a small stall with some glassware out on the table. Tellerion stood waiting for her as she looked over the small glass objects.
“Finbar arrived home yesterday.” A voice behind him said.
“Oh, did he? Is he okay?” Another voice asked.
“A bit shaken, but he’ll be fine. Lord Miray wasn’t happy about losing his baker. He actually charged him to be able to leave. He had all that money saved up, and now most of it is gone.”
Tellerion stopped watching Deydesli long enough to turn around to glance at the two old ladies walking past behind him. When he turned back to Dey, she smiled, “We should get back, shouldn’t we?”
Tellerion nodded and walked with her back to the inn to get their stuff and their horses. They had a lot of distance to cover yet today.