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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Fantasy · #2230082
Cala told us of Artism coming here to talk to me and the count, The coach was stopped.
In the crowd, I see Cala, a he is large man having a cleft chin with a large nose. He is a man who has his hands in many a pocket. He usually has some tasks for my father to do. I know better than to talk to him wearing a frown. His hands were busy opening and closing. His skin is pale. His eyes open wide upon seeing me in the tavern, on his belt is a bag of coins. He grins and draws his empty hand towards me. This really worries me. With good reason.

Cala smiled but frowned as I do not bring my hand toward his own. I leave it alone as it remains there hanging out expecting my hand to join his. He lowers his hand. Frowning as he realizes my hand doesn`t meet his own, as he lowers his hand to his waist as he does this he said,” Have you seen Artism. He should have been coming here by coach on the road that you live by. His wagon is ornate. It has lights where the coachman sits on either side of him, Have you seen him?”

“I don’t think I met anyone by that name! But I did spotted a carriage that you are describing on the road. It has been stopped and the occupants h slain. When we were arriving,” I said as I suspect it. I lock eyes with his own.

“Did you witness who attacked the carriage?” Cala inquires as he looked me in the eyes. He wipes his mouth with his hand, “I would pay you/ Tell me what you have seen there? How many attacked the wagon? What did they look like? If you saw them, that is?”

“Think we should discuss this in private,” I said as I watched the door that is where we should go if we want to be out of view and earshot.

He walks with me to go through the door. It’s a deeply recessed area. Some people never returned from going there. I thought I could trust him and him me. The area is just outside the doors to the inn, the wind has cut through our clothing, I am alone with him in the cold wind filled area where we stand at the door.

Cala lead me into the recessed area, where things that should not be done and were done. I watch his hands, my own rested on the pommel of a dagger. I did not lift the hand from there. I looked at his as if to say what is this.

The distance was far enough for me to draw with ease; it is where one would discuss a matter in private. The others in the bar’s eyes follow us as we leave there. Their eyes fell away from us as the lantern gave us some light.

The walls of this recessed area are dark with dirt. The stonework above our head also dark, we were three feet away from the inn’s rear door. My hand slips across the pommel. Fifteen feet away from us was a lantern on a pole shrouded us in the darkness where we can talk without being overheard. Just outside of the tavern, a beagle nosing about looking no doubt for food.

“Did you see a royal coach on the road to this inn? It had lights where the coachman would sit? Its occupants aren’t human?”

“I did see a coach, with lights where the coachman would sit. Yes. I did see it. Who was there on this coach?@ I asked I was worried, as I looked at him, it seemed he knew something about it, but what did he know about it. Are we safe with these beings here? Where did they come from?

“Ah! So, you saw the coach! Where is it?”, Cala asked he is a noble who has a great deal to worry about.

“Yes, I did see it. Why is Its occupant reptilien. Its still on the road, it was ambushed!” I declare.

“So, you saw the occupants. Did you see a letter sealed on his person, Yes, his people are reptilien and so is he. I think, they will protect us from the enemy. Do you see any of them?” he asked as he looked at me.

“I think I saw one of them?” I suggested as I looked at him.

“What did it look like?” he asked.

“It had skin that was white as snow. It was exceptionally tall. Its eyes were without a white of the eye. It tore out his heart and began to eat it,” I shuddered as I said this. Thinking about it I was fearful remembering it doing this,

“What happened to his guards and escort? Surely they were there helping him fight this monster?”
“I do not know, but I did see two of his guards in the coach. They were slain, if he had an escort I did not see any of them,” I declared as I saw the body of guard without a neck and chest cavity sliced through, guts and blood running from it body as it lay on the floor of the coach, the other guard was held in place by a crossbow bolt through the chest.

“My god! What had happened there?” he asked as he looked at me, not believing what his ears heard. He faltered a bit. He had to hold onto the wall to stay on his feet, The wind forced him backwards from where he stood.

“I don’t know. The coach man’s horses had been killed, by arrows or bolts. The coach had been attacked,” i stated, my throat felt dry as the desert is waterless. I coughed a bit,

“Why did you leave it there?” Cala asked as he looked fearfully into my eyes, trying to see if I was lying. My eyes didn’t betray my thoughts of anything other than the truth.

“No one’s alive. We are not responsible for the coach,” I said as I looked at him. I did not understand would try to talk him into aiding us. I am fearful, but I did see the killer of this figure he walking about. So, I had better talk to him about it. I asked,”Who are these people? Why was he coming here?”

Cala glared at me, as if to say this to him. His eyebrows arched in disbelief. He looked away from me, as if i had defecated on his shoe or something similar to this. It was as if he thought this, How dare I say this? Do I not know who he is and what power he controls?

There have been rumors of possibly the undead being in this mix of people approaching the city. I thought it was just speculation until I visualized the attack on the road. It must be undead doing this. What I witnessed the undead, I suspect this. The bodies we had found on the roads to the city were without limbs or heads. There was a rumor that a necromancer was responsible for the bodies to be there. The figure I saw looked like he was in control of his actions not an undead without a brain, he was thinking; I heard him talk to us, to taunt , frighten us.

The walls of this recessed area are dark with dirt. The stonework above our head also dark, we were three feet away from the inn’s rear door. My hand slips across the pommel. Fifteen feet away from us was a lantern on a pole shrouded us in the darkness where we can talk without being overheard. Just outside of the tavern, a beagle nosing about looking no doubt for food.

Cala is a noble who has a great deal to worry about. I realized we need reinforcements, but where. I did not understand would try to talk him into aiding us. I am fearful, but I did see the killer of this figure he walking about. So, I had better talk to him about it.

Cala looked at me, he looked away as if he was afraid to look at me, maybe what I had seen or knew frightened him, He looked at his pocket watch, and looked at the door through which we had come. He looked again at me, his eyes darted away from me, as though afraid, In the time it took for him to gain the nerve to speak to me. I could have finished my drink. It made me nervous as he looked at me again, He asked, his voice breaking over each word,” Have you seen Artism? He was on the coach heading here.”

“I don’t know anyone named Artism. Where he from? However, I spotted a coach stopped at the grove, they attacked it, by who I don’t rightly know,” I said as I wipe my mouth. My mouth grows dry.

Cala looked at me, his eyes widening. Skin growing ashen, he licked his lower lip, he turned away from me, to spit. He gulped, asked, “Was he human?”

“No, he was not. How could he be?” I asked as I rub my head to get the hair out of my eyes thanks to Stevie ruffling it. The wind also blew my hair about.

“He was not human. He has scales. His eyes are concave. H was six feet tall. Has clothing was that of a noble. Have I said, enough!” Cala asked, his eyes narrowed darted about the street to see what was there, his hand rested on the pommel of hos sword, his guards stood just past us near the door’s edge watching us.

“The figure of a man at the carriage we found wearing a satin white blouse a dark cape with a high collar, fur interior, the vest, and coat. The body had his heart removed. The body’s hands were in gloves, one covered in blood. Its eyes were open, the pupil concave. His skin was reptilian He was not from here, I suspect he was from another kingdom. If I am to guess,” I said, as I wipe my hand on my jacket. The cold is chilling my fingers, I have t warm them. I drew one up to blow on it.

Cala turns about to walk back into the bar to get something to drink, His guards step toward him as he began to turn to face where the bar is. His guards try to muscle their way through the crowd as he does this, their eyes rested upon me.

“Attacked by who! I will be back,” Cala trembles. His skin grew white, eyes wide, sweat appeared on his brow, and trembling he stands there. I spotted him return, How I wished I had joined him in doing this. It was better to be there. I watch him as he walked over shoving people out of his way. Toward him as he turns to face the bar. His guards try to muscle their way through the crowd as he does this. Their eyes rested upon me.

A patron reached out to grab Cala and grasp his wrist. Cala tried to his hand back, It did not move.

One guard reached out to seize the patron. His hand closed on his forearm,. The guard drew up his dagger to further entice the man to release to Cala’s. He brushed ahis wrist with the dagger’s edge.

The man froze as it rested. He winced, turned find out who put a chilled object on his wrist. The drinker said, “Let me go. You...”

A patron peered at the guard holding the dagger. He looked at the wrist of the person he held. The garment was Cala’s own. The guard did not smile. He released Cala’s wrist.

The patrons backed off from Cala. The guards closing in on the group understood happened and spread from where they were so Cala reached the bar.

Cala ordered his drink and received it. He returned as I froze.

When the others heard his name they draw away from him as he headed to the bar. They didn’t wish punishment for doing this to him, could ill afford it and nor wish to have the lash tear through your bare flesh or being killed by his guards here in the inn,

The storm arrives. It was making its presence known. This wind threatened to throw the heaviest man with ease. Lightning lit the skyline. Thunder exploded to deafen all. I grit my teeth and turn to the door. As I arrive there, the guard hadn’t moved blocked my. path. Cala walked through the door.

Cala returned, he said, “Continue.”

“Yes, no one was left alive there!” I warn as I watch him, his eyes grow large, he nervously looks about. I rub my hands together to keep them warm.

“I see. Did you see a contract, and maybe some maps!`Cala whispers. His eyes were locked on mine. He smiled a bit as the cold wind blew into his face. He grit his teeth.

I said, “No,” I forgot what Benger had done inside the carriage, drawing up that bag from the bench where it lay. Benger wants to keep something that might prove important for us to have it. We have it.

“Can you tell me what you visualized. The smallest detail may prove interesting to me, but not to you,” Cala suggests. He sips his drink.

Stevie emerges from the inn to join us in the cold street. She bit her lip, she looked at me, stepped into Cala’s vision. She walked towards us. Stevie looks into Cala's horror-filled eyes. She said, “But we spotted someone or something kneeling over the body of a noble. It lifted something from the body, I know that, for a fact.”

As the door begins to close, we witnessed a man walking toward us. He is having an animated conversation with a woman there. In his hands held coins. He pressed them into her hand.

The woman shook her head, no. Hands him back the coins he gave her. Ended the discussion with a heavy slap. The man winces and drew away. Held his struck chin. “How dare you? Is my coin not worthy of having you!”

“Another word out of your pie hole, I would end your life here and now!” she bellowed as she closed her hand and drew up her dagger. The dagger came out, she smiled grimly at him, the light from the sconce a couple of meters away danced across the keen edge of the dagger.

She approaches us as she glares at him as he flees by charging through us. We both had to struggle to remain upright, but we do this.Cala’s guards advance toward the figure as he flew by.

“Really, Can you tell me what you spotted” Cala asked looking at Stevie's legs as the wind tears into them as she strides toward us.

Stand there waiting for him to say something. She shivers to keep warm.

“What do you want?” I snarled, reached out to shove him from where he stood as iI I should listen to him. He has no power over me. I am not in his employ. Nor do I want to be there. He is corrupt, his actions are not usually good news. Why had he wanted to see this person named Artism.

He stepped back. Stared at me, said, “You have to go to Count Vic. Tell him what you have found there. Where the coach has been attacked and by whom?”

“Why should I? What do you expect from me!”I said as I glare at him, crossing my arms over each other.

“He would not believe me, would you?” Cala said, he flinches as if struck and glared at me.

“Why do you think he would listen to me!” I said as I spot at Stevie nodding. We turn to head back inside the inn to be away from him.

He removes his glove from his right hand. He looked about. His voice lowers, “I can not tell him this. Can I? Jack!”

“I did not know of this happening. How could I?” I responded as I glare at him.

“That’s why I asked you to tell him of this happening? And not I?” he said as he shoves his index finger into my chest, driving me back. He grinned as I lost my balance, Stevie grasps my arm to hold me from falling into the street.

“So, you are afraid to tell him this…” I said back as I gain my footing, my right hand slips about the pommel of the nearest dagger clear of her sheath. The blade’s keen edge glistens in the light.

“Yes. I asked you to do it for a fee,” Cala asked seeing the dagger in my hand. He winces and backs up.

“Fine, how much?” I asked, tried to find some way to talk him out of it, maybe I can make a profit off of him. But I had better be smart in what I asked of him, so I decided.

“Fifteen silver!” he said smiling, thought he has me over a barrel. We shall see, won’t we?

We turn towards the inn. I said,”I would do it for gold!”

“Four gold. There’s no way in heaven I would pay that much for you to see the count!”, Cala screamed, his hands dance about like frightened mice.

“I did not say, four gold. But it does sound nice ring to it! How’s about three Gold!” I laugh as I say this.

“Three gold! Are you insane! A gold, not a penny more,” Cala said, his voice growing, his eyes grew large,

“I am done, goodbye. Hope it’s a good night. Explaining yourself to the count,” I turn to walk away.

“How do I not know this is not a ruse? He may not have come, yet!” Cala yelled, and reached out to grab me.

The door opens, the people in the tavern hear his voice scream at me, the guards of Cala are fearful, after heard him scream. They looked scared.

“Fine wait for him. If he does not appear, check the road for his wagon. Later. Try to explain to Count Vic that you have other things to do. This happens and knows nothing. I will say you do. Those of us here would have say that too. Won’t they?” I said.

The guards freeze, they no longer are reaching for their weapons. They frown. Cala opens his mouth, reached for his coin purse, opened it, and said, “Fine, three bloody gold!”

I stare at him as he checked his purse and fishes out three gold coins. Handed them to me, said, “But not a penny more.”

“I don’t suspect he wants to be seen. Without a what that word. It involves a letter of introduction from you. Do you think you can manage that? For us, we don’t want to be put in the stocks for disturbing him. Do you see where I am going?” I said.

“Ah. Yes, We would need a letter If I am to go to him at an hour such as this.” Cala reaches for his collar to pry the cloth away from his neck in a fashion to imagine a noose about his neck instead of a high collared shirt. he returned inside and headed toward the bar so he can write a letter for me to go to the count at this late a time to see him.

A retainer walked toward him, with a bag on his hip, I realize he is a scribe, I suspect Cala can read and no doubt write as well. The scribe brings up a scroll for him to write on and also brings up a bottle of ink and a quill. Cala accepted these items. He leans over the bar to write on the scroll and handed it to me.

“I need your seal on the letter to make it apparent who has sent me to him. Don`t I?” I suggest.I know that this how they hand letters to each other, I can’t read. I don’t have to. Cala could use this as a means to slay us. Rather than accepting the bad news, himself. I think I can trust him not to do anything that stupid.

I accepted the coins, and letter, and walked back my party sat there waiting for me eating their meal and drinking their ale.

Dedraw smiled at me, said, “This is what Benger gave me. Quite the stone, isn’t it?” Showed me, a sizeable gemstone encrusted diamond ring in her palm, She beams.

“That’s why you have been so frugal, You dog you!” Stevie wagged a finger at Benger to show her displeasure, but smiled.

I look at it, twice. In case I am mistaken. As I realize what it is. It’s his mother’s ring, she passed quite a few nights ago. I grinned and patted Benger’s shoulder and said,” Good work! Your mother would be proud of you for doing this.”

“It seems his intention actually good, Don’t you realize?” Dedraw said as she nudged Benger’s shoulder, brought her hand to rest on his.I lift her hand from his shoulder.

“But…. Stevie’s paid for the room, that I had Dedraw wants to go to, Can’t it wait.”

“I do, we’ll end up in stocks, or hung by morning.” I lament.

“I am afraid we must go to Count Vic. Cala gave us an incentive! We h go, now!” I said and showed them the coins and the letter. Stared at them.

Benger did not believe his eyes, so he drew one up, fearfully looked at it, asked, “Is that real?”

“Yes, it is, do you understand me? Let’s do as he asked,” I suggest.

“Three gold. What did you do? He won’t have given you that coin, would he? What are you doing showing that to us? Here! We could get a knife in the back for these coins,” Benger whispered. His hand hovered over mine. His eyes rest on Cala stood with his arms crossed, glared at us.

I said, “I explained to him that we all would have to go. Heating to have to pay us for doing this,”

Stevie ras her hand through her blonde hair as it fell into her eyes. She smirked as she eases off the chair. Gets to her feet and heads to Cala. Cala watches her as she approaches. Her back is as straight as a rapier’s blade, her eyes are squinting. Her motion was most pronounced as she stopped before him, and said, “You would not pull any tricks on us. would you?”

“No!” Cala said.

We leave the Falcon’s Talon. We have to get to Vic’s house.

"I tell you, we have to go?" I said as the merciless wind tears through the jacket that I forgot to close from the elements as they abused my body, I shivered from it. How I wished I hadn't talked to Cala, but i did have three gold coins, Life is good. Maybe I was fortunate in telling my father to forget it. I don't need his money or his words to encourage me. He took away Stevie's mother's home, because she could not pay the taxes on it. The bastard.

"But Jack. Its still pouring out there," Stevie said as she looked at the rain as it fell upon the sidewalk, splashing in the puddles that littered the street. The wind blew the rain towards us. Her skin was still pink from the earlier deluge, where the rain and wind hit her driving the air from her lungs.

I grit my teeth as I emerged from the inn, the freezing temperature made my blood cold as ice. It blew into my face, as I walked forward didn’t see Benger as he stood there watching the street. Benger trembled as the cold bit into him and pounded him and cursed the wind.

Benger feels as if someone was watching us. He slowly checked the sidewalk and the street to see if he could see who was watching us. His nerves were on end, He felt that something or someone was following him. His eyes scan the street to see who is there. Did they pose a threat? He whipped his head about to see if anyone was there doing this. He could not shake the feeling that this was happening. The talisman he had put on his neck began to grow warm. The longer it lay against his skin he felt this warmth grow, His chest was also growing chilly aside from where it rested on the body. There was a fluid that was there also.

The longer he wore it, the fear of him being watched grew stronger as well. There had to be a reason that he was feeling this way.
Walking down the streets, the lightning exploded and showed a thin limbed being that was white-skinned. It vanished from view in less than a heartbeat.

I was growing fearful, I joined Benger as he checked what was following us, but saw nothing there that warranted this for us.

“His guards would not wish to see us at this hour,” Benger said as we arrive on the drenched street. He trembled as the chill of the wind gets inside his jacket. We slough forward in the biting wind, The rain hammered us, threatened to take our feet out from under us.

“I know, this but Cala’s afraid to see him tonight. However Cala gave me a letter to hand to Count Vic to see us,” I said.

“We’ll do this in the morning. Forget about it,” Stevie said as she looked at me in the eye trying to have me listen to her,.

“We have to do it tonight!” I said,

“No, We don’t,” Benger said he crossed his arms over his chest.

“Cala gave me, three gold t see him tonight,” I said as I put my hand on his shoulder. He brushed it aside.

“I don’t think that is a good idea. Jack!” he warned and ground his teeth..

“What is the problem? I ask not really knowing this.

“Try the hour! Count Vic will also probably want us dead fro doing this Now!” Stevie warned as she made a bridge with her hands to look at me.

“Cala would want us dead. If we don’t do it now.” I said.

“What do you think, the count will want to do with us. Welcome us in with open arms. I doubt it,” Stevie declared as looked at me,

“I agree, he will no doubt want to stop us from doing this!” Benger said as he looked at the floor in disgust.

“When he would be more receptive to us in the morning! I don’t want to wake him. Do you?” Stevie said as she sits down to relax.

“That why Cala gave us the coins to see him. Now! and a letter,” I said as I show them both the gold coins.

“Fine, we will do this, Its your head on the platter if it blows up in your face’” Benger declares.

“Come on, I don’t want to be drowned, Let’s get out of here!” Stevie said and glared at me for doing this. What am I supposed to do? She picked up her pace. Drew her cloak about her body, her legs were exposed to the elements. She shivered as the cold set in on her.

The count’s house was not far away, but it was still nightfall. We see four of the guards at the door to his house, they look at us as we approach, When we stop at their door, they look at us, Their faces have a confused expression. The heaviest guard begins to allow us to step aside. The other three guards have been able to allow us to talk to them. He stepped towards us. His face had a scar over his chin, there was a crease in it, He said, "Ẁhat is it you want?

“We are to see the count,`I say as I look at the guards stationed there.

“Sure, you are!” the largest guard said as he smiles at us. I recognuize him i have seen him talking with my father and count Vic. He laughs as he sees me there with these people.

“Cala gave me, a letter to see him!” I declare as I close my fist and glare at him.

“Right, as if!” the guard declared stepping towards us, his hands closes about his battle axe and lfts it to engage it on us. If we choose to move so much as a muscle.

“Sure he did, Show us the letter!” the large guard orders smirked. to glare at us.

“They probably stole it. To get Cala in trouble with Count Vic!” another guard said.

“We have been told to be here, by Cala. I tell you,” I declare my voice growing louder thanks to the rage I am feeling and thunder that roared. I watched him move toward us. the axe is deadly in the hands of the guards here.

“Show us the letter!” the guard barks, as he looks at us.

“If we do this we will probably be arrested for the thief of it.” Benger said as he watched the guard, the guard smiled and laughed.

“So you say that Sir Cala gave you the letter," he guard who was speaking said.
“Ẁe also have a letter I tell you!” Stevie snarled, snarled back, her blood was boiling. She clenched her fists as she looked at him.

“Now, you say you have a letter as if!” a shorter guard said, as he looked at the large guard, the guard stepped back as though a afraid of the short guard`s position here.

“We do?” Benger offers as he watches them shift about as though afraid.

“We have to see the count!” I said my eyes look into the guard's own.

“Sure you do,” the guard laughed, his eyes were pinpricks, his eyes locked on his face. He did not recognize me. He did not know what to make us of being here this late to see the count,

“No one is to see the count at this time!” he snarled.

“Ẁe have to, see him understand!” Stevie suggests. As she put her hands on her hips, tossed her head back to clear the hair from her face.

Benger lifts the flap on the bag he carried to rummage around in it to find the letter that Cala gave us. He smiled as he drew it out. Hands it to the guard. The guard stepped beneath the roof of the entranceway to look at the letter and be out of the rain after he finishes he looked up at the other guards.

“We do, Indeed we do this!” I said as BengerI drew up the letter to hand to the guard.

“What is this?” the guards looked at the letter.

“A letter from Cala to have us see the count!” Benger bellows as he glared at them.

“Why should I believe you. This might be a reason that Cala gave you this. How do we know for it to be true!” the guard declared.

“I think, that you should get someone to read the letter,” I warn as I glare at him.

They lower their weapons to protect the door and step into our path.

"Cala send us here, because we saw the body of a man slain by a white-skinned being!” I said.

The shortest guard stepped forward the largest guard to draw the envelope from his hands. He looked at the letter, turned to face me, he grimaced and nodded in agreement with my assessment of the matter.

“How dare you say this?” The large guard asked closing his fist.

“He has a letter from Cala, I tell you! He has to see the count!” the short guard smirks as he puts his hand on his friend’s chest to shove him back. The guard steps back.

“What about the others, why are they here!” he asked, still figuring he was in control of the situation until the letter had been handed to his. The short guard was now in control of the situation.

“How do we know, that this the truth What proof does he have to show us this fact to us,.” he asked, as he shoves his index finger into my chest. I step backward.

“There is a seal of Cala’s on the letter to verify this’” the short guard declared as he glared at the other guard.

“What do you mean a seal of Cala, When have you seen this seal!”

“Do you recall the noble dressed in a red coat, on his hip was a broadsword, he had an escort of four guards here to see Count Vic. That was Cala,” the guard asked.

“You wish to be before Count Vic. When I tell him what you have done here! Cala wants him to see them. This instance,”`The shirt guard declared.

“No, of course not!” the guard says as he winces.

“Get Teba! Now, wake him,” the short guard said, as he draws off one of his gloves to feel the chill of air upon his skin..

“Of course Ben!” the guard states. As he stepped inside the building racing down the hallway the door was still open. The short guard had begun to walk inside the building. he said, “Step inside!”

We followed his words as we entered the building.

“We are going to show you the three gild, You’ll claim that we stole. We are after all pheasant. All but me. My father would not give me a crumb much less three gold. How could we come up with three gold? We are not nobles. We must have stolen it. Right? Right! We have a letter from Cala to the count. Show them the letter!” I said as I cross my arms over my chest.

After he does this, he stepped forward, and said, “ It seems, that they are telling us the truth.”

“So?” the largest guard asked.

“Wake Count Vic, This instance. They have to see him,” the short guard said as he hands us back the letter. He looked concerned.

“What are you doing? He would have our heads for this. I tell you!” the guard stopped to us asked.

“Yes, I am. Unless you would like to have a noose about your throat. Argue with me and it will happen!” the short guard warns, “Also get Count Vic; ascribe to read the letter. Get the bastard who sent them here, As soon as you can!”

The guard holding us at bay vanishes inside,

The short guard said, he looked at us and said, “would you tell no one of this indiscretion. Do you understand me!”

“Yes, I understand,“ I said as the large guard raps at the door. It opens to reveal a T junction, there is aa staircase going up, there are guards station at the door. They look fearsome.

The other two passages have chandeliers that illuminate the hallway. There are doors that are there, with guards positioned at them.

The large guard barreled down the hallway stopped at a door and talked with the guard at it. They look at him and seem a little put off by what he has said. The door opens, a short man with a wide stomach looked at the guards, wearing a nightshirt and pants his feet are bare, his hair all over the place. He squinted and looked at us as we are in the hallway. Rubbing his eyes, his eyes are pinpricks. He said,” What are you doing here? Are you aware of what the time is right now? I don’t think, the Count will want to see you at this time. Unless this is of some grave importance to him. I know of no one who would do this. I warn you. Go!”

“Cala sent them here at this hour,” the guard said, as he implored him to listen.

“Then why is he not here! He should be here. Shouldn’t he?” the man asked.

“Look at the letter they have with them, I suspect it will explain everything?” the guard said,

The man stamped his feet, thrust out his right hand to receive the letter. The guard handed it to him. The man opened the letter read it over. He shivered and agreed.

We walked down a hallway to speak with the count. I was afraid of the count; he ruled over the people with an iron fist. We were going to be in a great deal of trouble seeing him.

We arrived at the door, the short guard knocked on the door. It slipped open as silently as smoke rises from a lit pipe. There returned a faint voice that said, “Who is there? Why are you here?”

“Ben is here, with Teba. There is a matter that we must address the count at this instance. It involves Cala, And someone he was to meet!”
the short guard said.

“Are you sure of this fact,” the voice from behind the door said.

“Yes, I am,”

“Wait a few minutes, allow us to get the count ready to see people arriving at his door at an hour like this,” the voice sounded frightened.

“Count there is someone who wishes an audience with you. Now!” he stated to the count.

“What’s the meaning of this?” the count snarls.

“Get him, some coffee and a meal!” the faint voice said as it grew in volume.
We heard feet leaving the room, then after awhile feet returning to the area, we smelled coffee, eggs, bacon, and toast filling the air. It was mouth-watering, how we wished we had received this. We heard something being lifted. There followed a scream. “Ouch, Damn you!”

“Count the coffee is strong and very hot. I warn you,”

“I need to drink something to wake up. Have them wait, They will just have to wait until I am awake, Won’t they? We did not come into their home and wake them. Did we?” the count grumbled. His voice had the heavy feel of sleep still residing there in the person we heard speak,

“I apologize, for coming in at this hour. We are hereby Cala’s bidding. We would not be here

“Of course!” the manservant there said as the door opened to show a portion of the bedchamber. There was a curtained area where they had heard the third voice come from.

The count began to dress behind the curtained area. They heard feet falling in a fashion that suggested they were running. We stood there waiting. There was a thick rug on the floor. The walls had red velvet, and trim of silver, there was maple wood on the upper section of it, There was a huge bed which had just been vacated. There was a tapestry of a large dragon looming over a mass of gold and precious stones, gems, silver it was looking at you as you looked at it.

There were four guards here, they look at us. The guards do not appear at ease with us being here. especially at this hour of the night. We felt that we shouldn’t be here, we agreed with their sediment.

One of the guards said,”Weapons. Hand them over. They would be returned to you after you are finished seeing Count Vic!”

Benger looked at me, as I withdraw my daggers and sword and hand them to the guard who asked for them. He follows suit, hands them his Warhammer, and heavy sword. Stevie hands them her crossbow and dual handed sword. She not happy, either is Benger. I am equally not happy with the situation here.

The fat gent wearing the nightshirt and pants has walked with us into this room. He trembled a little he was frightened, but why was he scared, He knocked on the curtain.

We hear the count,`” What is the meaning of this? Why can’t it wait until to tomorrow?”

“It is regarding Cala, and his actions in the community. The noble he sent for was to arrive, I suspect he did arrive But was stopped dead in his tracks getting here. The noble is Artism..” Teda said as he gulped to get enough air into his lungs to speak, He trembled with fear.

“So, it involves Cala. What has he done? To allow us to have this happened? He had better be here. Is he here?” the count snarls, we imagine his hand closing violently on themselves. Anger has filled him.

“No. He is not?” Teda says as he looks about trying to see if he has seen Cala in this group of people. None of them are him. He winces

“This matter concerns him, Doesn’t it?” the count bellows, he coughs.

“Yes, it does!” Teda replies.

“Find the coward and bring him here, This instance! Do you understand me! Find him?” the count growls a guard turns and barrels out the door. The guard did not appear happy,

I smile, I know that I would not want to be Cala, The count is angry, as he should be. He wants answers for this matter to be cleared up.
After waiting a while, the curtain is moved, so we can see the count. The count looks as though he still was asleep. His eyes look strained, his lids look heavy with sleep. His eyes shift about as he looks at us. He is coughing, it is a dry cough. He is holding a cup to drink from.

He stares at us. He screams,” What is the meaning of this happening? Who the hell are you people, You’re not who I should be seeing are you?”

Benger draws the letter, he hands it to the guard walks over to where Teda stood. His eyes are heavy with sleep. He accepts the letter, opens it. When he finished. He looked at the count and said,`”Cala has written this to tell you. They are here on his behalf. In regards to Artism was slain.”

“Do they have a letter of recognition for us to see?” Count Vic said.

“Yes, they do!”

“May Teda check the letter?”

“I have!”

“No, we are not!” Stevie exclaims.

“Did I ask you to speak? Did I?” he bellows, I see one of the guards reaching for his ranged weapon to draw it up.

The spear is pointing at Stevie, who turns to face him, Stevie flings herself out of the range of it as it left his hand. The spear hits the wall.
“Who should speak?” I ask.

“The one holding the letter, I suspect might be a good one to start,” the count slowly lowers his voice as he looked at the guard who has brought the spear towards us.

“Well, I suppose I should. When we were walking through the woods we saw an ornate coach,`I said.

“What were you doing walking through the woods? You could be in a great deal of trouble doing that,” the count warned, his eyebrows are arched mouth turned into a scowl.

“His father owns the land beside the wood. That was why we were there!” Benger said as he smiled as he looked at me. He prayed that would lead us out of the trouble we were in thanks to the behavior of Cala sending us here.

“So, you are Calera’s son. Jack. Nice to met you.,`the count said he stumbled a bit on what he was wanting ti tell me.He smiles slowly.

“Yes, I am. My father and I have taken a granted hatred towards each other. I do not agree with anything,the is doing?” I state.

“MInd your tongue,” Stevie warned as the count glared at me and her as well.

“It could cause you a great deal of harm, If you do not do this’,” the scribe warned.

“What of this coach? Were there any occupants you found there?” the count asked as he began to relax his hand that was closed.

“Were there any guards with this coach. That you found there.” Count Vic said.
“It appeared the guards have been slain there,” Stevie said.
“There was a lizard dressed as a noble who was found on the outside of the coach on the ground,” Benger said as we waited for the count to begin to say something.
“Did this lizard say anything?” the count asked.
“No, He was fighting for his life,” Benger said.
“Who was he fighting? What happened to the escort that was with him?” Vic asked as he tried to make some sense of this matter.
“We did not see them, I suspect they had been killed by the white-skinned noble and his friends,” Benger said as he reflected upon the reptilian demise.
“A white-skinned human or elfen being dressed as a noble!” Stevie said.
“Did you try to stop it from killing or harming the lizard!”
“We did not arrive on time to do this,”
“Where was Cala?’`the count asked.
“Waiting in the Falcon’s Talon for him to arrive I suppose,” I said.
“What did Cala do, when you told him this?”
“Nothing, he told us to go and see you?” I said.
“Did he suspect I would not be happy to see him?” the count asked.
The count and we also waited for a while before continuing on in this statement, after sometime, the count began to speak again after he had sipped his coffee and relaxed to further understand the details in this matter, “Why do you suspect that the being was supposed to have met Cala!”
“Yes, I do, because when I told Cala of it, He seemed worried. I also suspect that you have something to do with this. Don’t you?” I said.
He dances about, glaring at us. “Fine. So Cala said, I must listen to you. Did he? I am supposed to see him tomorrow. When I am supposed to see him, in regards to a noble who if I am correct is Artism. That he is talking about. He should have come here?” the count screams.
“I was about to when you started to speak,” I said.
Benger said, “I saw a carriage, Iton the side of the road and stopped there. We were behind it walking through the woods. It seemed a little wrong. The coach should have moved, but did not. I did not know, why. I approached the coach. Reached out to touch the baggage container of the coach, It was leather and cold to the touch, So, I crept upon it to see the right door open.”
“Go on, tell me more!” Count Vic said as he watched Benger speak. Benger paused for a second to try and recall all the details. The white-skinned noble had the lizard pinned to the ground. He was kneeling over the lizard noble, his knee rested on the shoulder of the lizard. The lizard could not move from where he rested on the ground.
“There was a body lying in the ground there. A figure knelt over the body speaking to it. Reached into the body’s chest. I believe it removed his heart and ate it,” I said as I recalled it happening, The monster seemed relieved to have done this to him.
Vic shivered as he said this. He brought his wrist to his mouth, and asked,” What happened next.”
Benger said, “I pursued him. He ran away from me. I could not catch him! I am afraid.”
Vic turned to face Benger, he jabbed him with his forefinger in the chest. He stepped back to not lose his balance. He was still adamant that he was being lied too. again, “What did you find?”
Benger trembled a bit as he slipped his finger to loosen the collar of his shirt, he knew of what he was being accused of doing. His eyes narrowed to slits. His throat grew dry as sand. then he said, “Nothing!”
Vic said, “I suspect you are lying to me. You have found something! Haven’t you?`His voice made it apparent that he knew, he was being lied too.Vic felt secure in this knowledge of the facts. He did not have absolute proof. He looked at Benger who refused to look him in the eyes it was as though he was afraid of saying this to him.
“Have not!” Benger declared, he drove his foot down. glared at the count. Beads of sweat began to rise on his skin. Closed his hands the tightness of his grasp made him feel uneasy. He wants to hit the count, but knows that this foolishness could mean their deaths. Fear bids its time with him.
‘I think, you are lying! Its of no matter! But if I do find that out and it involves me or Cala, You will! Wish you hadn't ?” the count declared as he points a finger at him.
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