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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/874649
Rated: 13+ · Novel · Fantasy · #874649
When Illyasha's mother died, she had suspected foul play, and ran. (Not Completed)
Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, and that I am currently attending school, and have very little time to get the words in my head, out.  Will be added to, off and on, so keep and eye out! 
~AJK


Illyasha's Tale...

The sky was dark. As she looked up at it, she realized how incredibly dark it really was. It isn’t normally like this, is it? she thought in dismay. Normally she could decipher the Archer, the Drake, and all of the other star patterns that had been pointed out to her by her mother when she was little. But not tonight. For a moment she panicked, thinking that something wasn’t right. Then realization dawned in her eyes. Of course she couldn’t see the stars, it was raining. It should have been snowing though it was so cold. She snuggled deeper into her jacket, in toward the base of the tree amidst the sharp rocks and sticks. So cold.

The wind carried sounds; the crack of a whip, and a man obliging the sound with a scream. A child calling for her dog, but no bark in reply. The wind carried with it a strong bite, too. So cold.

For a while she dozed against the tree. She reassured herself that no one would see her, with her black boots, forest green jacket and shirt, and her black pants. Pants, she thought, who would have ever have thought that I would be one to wear pants.

In the distance, close enough that she didn’t need the winds aid to hear it clearly, she heard dogs barking. She crocked her head to one side, listening to the pitch of the howls, and the patterns that were being made. Her eyes unfocused, as she thought.

“The King’s dogs,” she murmured to the air, “they have caught the sent of an intruder in the King’s forest.” She snuggled down deeper into her jacket, closer to the tree. “I wonder how long it will take them to find me.” So cold.

She tried to keep herself awake, because she knew that going to sleep now would mean never waking up. Her consciousness went into a kind of haze, where she couldn’t tell if she was sleeping or not. She thought she could hear her mother's voice talking to her, like it was coming from the bottom of a well. She started struggling, trying to get down to where her mother’s voice was, but she just couldn't reach it. She was so cold...

She woke with a start, the baying of a hound interrupting her sleep, and she remembered where she was. In an instant of panic, she realized that at one point, while she was sleeping, she must have crawled away from the tree, because she was now sprawled on the ground next to it. She couldn’t remember moving at all; at least, she didn't think that she could.

A torch flickered about 100yrds. away, and she quickly scrambled on her numb limbs to the dark side of the tree, hoping that it would give her some kind of cover. She brought her knees to her chest, and sent a prayer up to whoever was listening. Deep in her mind she knew that the action was futile; the dogs had her scent, and being on the other side of a tree wouldn't change that.

She grabbed the hair above her ears and pulled it down over them, effectively covering them up. In the past 3 months it had become a nervous gesture, one that was now natural habit. It wouldn’t do for people to recognize her by the six –-three in each ear–- stones implanted permanently there.

She braced herself as she heard the hunters coming, her mind refusing to come up with a plan to aid her. She didn’t have long to worry though: the dogs arrived first. A great bounding hoard of them, ripping, tearing, and gnashing at both each other, in their haste to get to her. Once they were on her, she lost all track of time, trying to keep them away from the front of her neck, and face, and stomach. One got his teeth on her leg, and she felt the bone splinter.

She tried not to make a sound, for she knew that because of their training that it would only provoke them, but she couldn't help the tiny whimper that escaped her throat. One went for her face, and she pulled her arms higher up to protect herself, but the move came too late. Its long tooth had caught the corner of her left eye, and put a gash parallel to her chin line and over her cheek bone, down to her bottom lip. She felt more teeth sinking into her once-fine legs.
She felt a pang of regret, and loss, and knew deep in her mind that if she survived this, no one would want her, because this all would surely leave scars.

What seemed to be an eternity later the men arrived, and called the beasts off. Her mind in a daze, she tried pulling her legs up further, so as to cradle them against her chest, and was both shocked and curious as to why they didn’t. She couldn't understand why her limbs would defy her in this way. “There’s the motherless son of ‘a ninth's street whore,” the man said, spitting on her. He grabbed her shoulder to roll her toward the light, and it was an automatic reflex that allowed her to throw him at all. She had learned in the past few months, and been training for years, in self defense. She shifted her weight, just so, and the man stumbled back, falling on his ass.

The rest of the men roared with laughter as he got up, and one of them commented, “Frozen solid to the ground, I’d wager!” The first man, the one who had fallen, reached down and grabbed a fist full of her ebony hair, a scowl on his face, as well as a healthy level of caution.

He started pulling up, and she relaxed her body, so as not to help. Just as she thought that the fistful of hair would surely rip free, the man stopped short.

After letting go of her dark colored hair, he crouched down and brushed it away from the side of her face, some of it catching in the stickly blood that seemed to be everywhere. As the hair was finally pushed aside, her right ear was exposed. She couldn't even summon an emotion, as she felt her body going into shock. She was momentarily distracted though, by this man...His face was not that bad to look upon, and she noticed that his body had been fined to the point of near-perfection. The only reason she had been able to through him back was because he had not expected it in the least.

“Bring a light up!” he roared, and she noticed a note of panic in his voice with satisfaction. Once the side of her head was better illuminated, he bent in for a closer look. Her eyes drifted close, but that only stopped the sight of his unshaven, dirty, wonderful face. It did not stop the smell of him though, a sweet forest sent, with a tang of sweat. Normally she would have recoiled from the fragrant stench, but she had come to be used to it in the past month. If I'm still distracted by men, I'm still alive. She thought. At least, she thought she thought it. Her vision was getting blurry, and her head started to pound. Besides, she chided herself, still not sure if she was thinking out loud I probably smell twice as bad.

She heard a sharp intake of breath, and then shrank away from the two fingers that were frantically searching her neck for a pulse. Following the movement, nausea hit her like a mace between her eyes, causing her to curl into a more fetal position, as if that were possible. She could feel the blood sluggishly coursing through her body, her brain, every part of her body pulsing with the beat, which was gradually slowing down. She knew that her heart was still going, but she tried unsuccessfully to make it stop, wincing with every beat that it took.

“Get a Medic!” the man cried, his voice now, undoubtedly, in a panic, “The Princess Illyasha is hurt!” She felt his strong, warm arms lifting her off of the ground, and she swallowed back the bile that rose in her throat with the movement. With what little strength she had left, she snuggled her head into his chest. Then her world went black.


She woke slowly to the sound of murmured chanting and the smell of incense. From the sound of it, there were at least ten of the priests. In her time on the Outside, she had learned a few tricks, and audio counting was one of the many. Keeping her eyes closed, she did an internal evaluation, just like her High Court friend, Sceff, had shown her. Her legs itched horribly, but that meant that they were healing and that was a good thing. The left side of her face was covered in what she guessed to be the finest linen money could buy. Silently, she continued to take stock of her body. Whatever they didn’t know, she could use to her own advantage. That was one of the first things she had learned. She would keep the ruse of sleep a while longer. She thought about all the rumors that would start with her return, and held back a moan of despair. Those rumors were one of the things that she had been running from, and now they would be worse than ever. Another was her stepfather, Marcell, and his efforts to pressure her into choosing a suitor. And the last was those suitors themselves. ‘If I hear the phrase, ‘a favor for milady’ again, I swear I’ll just die. I. Will. Bloody. Die.’ she promised. Hope found it’s way into her mind though. One good thing had come from her injuries, no man would be looking at her anytime soon, not with her legs all torn up and the long gash down her face that would surely leave a scar.

Concentrating on the cut again, she noticed something peculiar that she had missed on the first sweep through. On both of her ears, there was a sharp little pain. It took her a moment before realization dawned on her. A fourth stone had been implanted into both of her ears.

The more earstones a person had, the higher rank they had, higher social standing. Normal people, commoners without rank, had the stones in the right ear, and wealth would buy you more, while the titled families had them in the left ear lobe. Servants, slaves and the like normally had the stones on their face, either nose, or lips, sometimes eyebrows, if they were favored, where as convict's ears were cut off. When someone worked for the kingdom directly, such as the High Counselors, or even servants, ear cuffs were added to the lesser stones, on the lobe.

When someone had stones in each ear, that meant that you were related to the royal family, while three stones in each ear, and above, meant that you were part of the immediate royal family. The same protocol, of the more stones, the higher the rank, followed in the royal bloodline, too. If you were born into the position, you had more authority, so added, in addition to the customary five stones on the lobe, two ear cuffs on the top each ear. If you had married into the position, you had one ear cuff on top of the left ear, giving you a lesser rank. Four stones in each ear though, that marked whoever was to succeed the throne, the heir.

~~~~~
3 in left, 3 in right = member of the family
4 in left, 4 in right = heir to throne
5 in left, 5 in right = Unmarried King/Queen
5 in left, 5 in right, 1 cuff on left= spouse of King/Queen
5 in left, 5 in right, cuff on left, cuff on right = natural born King/Queen
~~~~~

Closing her eyes tighter to stop the outburst that was working it’s way up, she controlled her breathing. ‘They must have done it while I was unconscious. That is supposed to be against the law, isn’t it? Don’t they need my consent to make me heir?!’ she thought tightly. Obviously not, or at least not anymore. They probably thought that those two extra stones would keep her in check. ‘Not a chance,’ she bitterly thought.

A particularly strong whiff of the incense blew her way and started her hacking. By the time she sat up and wiped the tears form her eyes, all chanting had stopped and Sara, her personal and only servant, was holding a cup for her. Hoping it was something strong when she grabbed it, she was sorely disappointed that it held water. “Fetch my stepfather,” she requested of the girl as she handed back the empty cup. She was surprised at how rough and raw her own voice sounded. She coughed again from the smoke and squinted through the gloom and haze toward the knot to healers. ‘That is why my voice sounds like gravel, is all this dammed smoke!’ she concluded. Out loud she said, “You don’t suppose that a little sunlight and some fresh air would kill me, hmm?” The scramble to throw back the pistachio curtains and open windows out toward her fragrant gardens left her dizzy and she closed her eyes in momentary nausea.

By the time the Consort arrived the room was well lit with a fresh summer breeze moving through it from the garden, carrying the fragrant scent of flowers and green life.

The gilded gold doors opened with a resounding boom and an invasion of emerald garbed servants flooded in. that was one of the things that irked her, all of those useless servants he drug around with him. She had one, and she was doing perfectly fine. She smoothed the features on her face and waited for the king to make his entrance. How she longed to be away from here!

The there he was, sweeping through the double doors–held open by his servants–like the bird of prey he resembled. He was draped in a rich scarlet with cloth of gold curtained around his holders and dragging in a train behind him. His dark brown hair dangled to his ears and was contained in a braided gold band. He had a friendly enough face, until you looked at his eyes. A penetrating gray that could read you like a scroll. Not stubborn, not wise, but sly. That is how he had wooed her mother in the first place, with his cunning. The memory of her mother brought a pang of guilt to her heart as it had been for months. But now was not the time to fret over such things, she had business to take care of.

“My daughter!” Marcell cried as he ran to her bedside. She wanted to retort with, ‘I am no daughter of yours!’ but she bit it back at the last moment. He had done nothing to deserve that. Yet. He grabbed her hand and held palm to the side of his face. She winced at his touch and he took it as a hurt form his dogs, and apologized profusely. He was only about 18 years her senior, and easily could have been her father. But he was not. Her mother’s first husband had mysteriously died 8 months before she had been born, and then had been forced to remarried immediately.

She could be Marcell’s get, but she had her father’s look about her. Slightly slanted eyes, and a tan skin that came in the summer and lasted all through winter. She looked almost nothing like the two twins. Her hair was a lush golden brown, from her mother and she had full rose red lips that any girl would envy. Her nose was slightly small, but that was common where her father came form. If there was one thing she wished never to change, it would be her eyes. They were a vivid green, like that of new growth. She knew without a doubt that if her sight, her eyes, were to go, her mind would not be far behind.

She endured his worried doting for a few moments more before interrupting. “Why do I have the…honor…of having one more stone put into each of my ears?” She noticed that her voice sounded a little tighter than it probably should have. He would not meet her gaze. “The last thing that you mother said to me,” (he still would not meet her eyes), “was that she wanted you to succeed her on the throne.” His lips puckered, as if he had tasted something extra bitter. But it was true, Marcell had married into his title; therefore he could not have refused her mother anything, for she was a higher ‘rank’. She lowered her head and looked through her eyelashes at him. ‘Why would he have a grimace on his face about this?’ she wondered. She pulled her hand out of his grasp, not rudely, but in such a way that he knew that it wasn't welcome.

“And why do you think, dear step father of mine, my mother wanted your word, your most solemn oath, that you would make me direct heir?” she asked mildly.

Three months ago, her mother’s dead body had been found in her royal bedchamber. The suicide note had said that she poisoned herself. But Illyasha really didn’t think that her mother had committed suicide. She had no reason to. It left the question to beg though, who had killed her? Someone who her mother trusted, who had enough money to pay for both the poison and forger. Not to mention their motivation.

That is when Illyasha had left court, run away to the city. All she had to do was cut her hair, were boy cloths, and dirty her face, and not even her best friend would recognize her. Well, maybe she would have, but only because she had a pretty good idea on where to look. Sense she began to suspect that her mother was murdered, she had been encouraged to leave by those that knew her best. Sceff, a guard of the High Court, had snuck her out the night after her mother’s body had been found.

Illy had been staying at an inn called the Giggling Marlin, where she started with cleaning dishes. At first she had been squeamish, but that hadn’t lasted very long. About a week after she had started working there, she had accidentally wandered into the gaming room when picking up dishes. While walking in front of the dart board, she had caught a flick out of the corner of her eye. She had promptly turned and plucked the dart out of thin air. Then she threw it at the man who had not waited to make sure that the path was clear, and had pinned his head to the wall by sending the dart through one of his hoop earrings. When Luheoi, the owner of the tavern, had heard this, she didn’t wash dishes anymore. He had helped to provide her with a whole new set of…skills.

Illy brought herself back to the present, and realized that there had been silence for way too long. She really didn’t want to deal with Marcell right now. She was tired, sore, and she just wanted to sleep. “Never mind Marcell, it really doesn’t matter does it. What is done, is done,” she said. His eyes grew warier as he searched her face. Not her eyes, they only reminded him that she wasn’t his.

“I just came in to tell you that I have had the dogs taken care of, and the execution is set for noon,” he said in a very neutral voice.

“What do you mean you took care of…. Wait, what execution?” she said. She really didn’t like how this was starting to sound. What is going on around here?

“Why, the execution of that awful man who let his dogs attack you. It doesn’t matter anyway, because all the dogs that man has trained have been taken into a special, new training program by one of my hand picked men,” he said. Illy stared at Marcell in shock. The man had just been doing his job, following your orders! she thought furiously at him. Instead she said, “Haven’t you always taught me that it is not the fault of the starving dog that it bit it’s master, but the master’s fault that the dog was starving, step father?” she asked sweetly.

His eyebrows snapped down into a disapproving look. But what he said was, “I must inform the scribes to be down in the city’s square in time for them to record time and type of death. Farwell daughter.” Then he was gone, leaving a bad taste in her moth. He swept all of his servants out after him. Except one.

Illy started to get out of bed, and motioned Sara over to help. As she started to swing her legs over the side of the bed, she sucked in a sharp breath, then remembered the feel of bone crunching. Oh, she remembered, I guess I broke my leg. She glanced up at the pretty little blond girl who hadn’t left the room. “Can I help you?” Illy said, as she eased her legs over the edge more gently this time.

The girl dipped a deep curtsey, and stayed down. “I am called Kate, if it would please milady Illyasha, and I am hear at our Consort’s request, to make sure that you don’t get kidnapped again,” she said. But Illy knew the truth. She was just another spy of Marcell’s.

“Yes, well Kate, what I really feel I need at this moment is some nice chipped ice, to ease my oh-so-soar throat,” she said in her best ‘light’s on, but nobody’s home’ voice. She opened her eyes wide and tried to look innocent. Kate dipped deeper into her curtsy, acknowledging the request. But she didn’t move. Why won’t she leave?! Illy thought in despair. Then she realized why. She was heir now, and servants needed her permission to rise, to leave, to approach. “You are dismissed,” she said quickly, and Kate gracefully rose and hurried out the door. Sara moved over with a cup of water.

“Lady Illyasha, drinking more water may help to make your throat feel better,” she said quietly. Illy looked at her sharply. Sara had been her best friend for over 7 years. Why was she going so formal now? She asked Sara as much, and in so many words, and Sara just stared at her for a moment, then laughed. She said, “Oh, I thought that you had let the new power change you, when you were ordering Kate around. I was afraid to act familiar with you. Oh Illy, I have missed you so much!” The last was said in a sob as she dropped the cup, and threw her arms around Illy.

Illy tried very hard not to let Sara disturb her injuries, but wanted to comfort the woman also. Illy had kept in touch with Sara as much as she dared while she was hiding, but it still must have been hard for her. She held Sara, and tried to sooth her with gentle shushing and promises that it was ok now. As much as she wanted to just hold Sara, then go back to sleep though, she had some work to do first.

“Sara,” she said, “listen to me. I have to get down into the city to stop them from executing that man. He was working under my father dearest’s orders. I need to help him! I have to! Please, pull yourself together and help me? I can’t do it alone, hell, I can’t even walk alone, so how am I going to get there unless you help?” Sara looked up at Illy’s face.

“I can’t by chance convince you not to do this, can I?” she asked. Illy’s expression must have been answer enough, because Sara just sighed, and stood up. “Alright, lets get you dressed, you invalid.” Illy just nodded, bit her lip, and got ready for more pain.


Illyasha winced and hissed, as she pulled her horse up short, to avoid trampling the child that darted in front of her. Sara had taken her down through the secret route, in the back of her wardrobe, which ended up in Sara’s small room in the servant quarters. Sara had more than half carried her down the stairs, and Illy was sitting sidesaddle now, in an old, ragged cloak of Sara’s. The trip down the stairs had been painful, but Illy had only cried a little.

They were half way down Main Street, just passing Smithy Avenue, and Illy could feel the tears of pain building up behind her eyes. She clenched her jaw, and directed her horse around the group of small children, Sara following closely behind her. It had taken over half of an hour to get out of the palace, and frankly, it was a miracle that they had been able to at all, the security was so high. They had been riding through the city for almost 20 minutes, what with all the foot traffic, but as they went around a cart that had a broken axle being worked on, Illy could see the opening to the city square ahead at the end of Main. Soon, she and Sara came into the open area, riding past vendors selling nick-knacks on the left, and the upper working class homes on the right.

But Illy didn’t see any of that. Her attention was riveted in the middle of the square, on the platform , at the foot of the fountain, and the small figures on it. A man with an executioner’s hood on, manning the gallows, and another hunched in on himself, with a sack covering his head. A royal scribe was writing on a small, portable desk, with a herald standing behind his shoulder. Illy tilted her head back and glanced at the position of the sun, instead of the clock that was on display on a storefront. She had found that her judgment was usually better than that of shop owners. They had 10 minutes, plenty of time. Illy was walking the horse over to the platform, to halt the proceedings, when she felt a sharp pull on her leg.

She gasped in pain and swung her head, one hand automatically going to a dagger that wasn’t there, looking for who had caused her pain. And there, standing right next to her horse, a scowl on his face like she had seen many a time, was Dyrclen. He had been the stable boy for the inn Illy had worked in, and he had taught her the use of her daggers. This was why everyone called him Dirk, for the weapon he favored, and woe be to anyone who used his full name, knowing the shorter one he preferred. She suppressed the uneasy feeling, of not having any weapons, of missing her own, now gone daggers.

Dirk looked as if he had seen sixteen summers or so, small, and slight. He acted older, but his face looked younger. He had a tendency to play with all the little kids in the neighborhood, over in the side streets, watching them for their parents, while they were at work, keeping all the kids out of trouble. And their parents, in turn, would feed him, when they could, and if he needed a place to crash for the night, any one of them were always willing to open their doors. Of course, he augmented those earnings with the less than legal profits that he earned at night, with the help of Bob.

Illy's eyes automatically scanned the crowd, looking for patrol men, before she bent down and hissed in her friend’s ear, “Later, I need to take care of something first, we can talk later!” She knew that she would owe Dirk an explanation, especially after he found out who she was. She was about to put a royal show on, for sure. He nodded his head sharply, and took a step back, crossing his arms over his chest, to wait.

Illy sighed, and continued to push her way through the crowd, over to the platform again. As she pulled up even to it, she shrugged the cloak off of her shoulders, showing her still bandaged face and fine cloths. She looked over to where the scribe was writing furiously, and cleared her throat in her best, imperial imitation.

“Excuse me,” she said in a voice loud enough to carry four deep into the crowd that was formed around the gallows. The startled scribe looked up at her, surprise written on his face, followed closely by annoyance.

“Yes?” he said, impatiently, in a querulous voice. Illy steeled herself, and shrugged her shoulders, nonchalant.

“Oh, nothing, except that that man,” she pointed to the one with the sack over his head, “The dog trainer? Well, he is not to be executed by you. I am going to take him back to the palace.” She could see the disbelief written on the man’s face, before he started laughing.

“Girl,” he said, condescendingly, “This man is to be executed by his Royal Regent Marcell’s orders! Why, he is the one who is responsible for the princess Illyasha’s disappearance!” He glanced around, still laughing, and the others on the platform took his hint, joining in his mirth. Strangely though, the crowd remained quiet.

Illy sighed. She hadn’t taken into account that they wouldn’t recognize her. Fine, she could do this the hard way then.

“Well,” she said, as she reached up, tucking her hair behind her ears (she had reverted to her old habits, without noticing, of pulling the hair down over them), “At this point,” she said, “I outrank my father dearest, at least in domestic matters, and this is as domestic as it gets.” Her voice had a slightly snobbish lit, and she regretted the necessity of it. “I say that he will not be hung,-" she then amended quickly, "-at least, not today. Most certainly not for my kidnapping, at any rate.”

She watched as the scribe went a delicate shade of white, then green as his laughter strangled off. She could see his mouth moving as he counted the stones in her ears, his face reverting to its previous pasty shade. His eyes flicked down, not meeting hers, and he nodded his head, in a half bow, before turning, and signaling for the arms-man to release the prisoner.

When the hood came off, Illy held her breath to keep from gasping. The man’s face had been beaten almost beyond recognition, his left eye swollen shut. There was a wide array of color blossoming on his face, at least, that which his hair wasn’t covering. It looked as if his nose had possibly been broken, also. She closed her own eyes and swallowed. She would NOT forgive Marcell for this.

She turned her head to Sara’s direction, eyes still closed and said, “Sara? Would you mind sharing your saddle with him? Or maybe just guiding your mount as he rides?” It wasn’t an order, she avoided giving them whenever she could. It was but a request, between friends. She opened her eyes, to look at Sara. The serving girl’s expression was open, eyes wide, but she was dismounting, and leading her horse over to the platform.

Illy tried to maneuver her mount, to turn back to the crowd, and had by habit tried to use her legs to do so. She took deep breaths, her head spinning, and her vision beginning to double. She closed her eyes again for a moment, pulling up on the reigns, to make sure her horse was stopped. Her stomach turned, and she had to swallow back bile as it crept up her throat. She had seen worse beatings, but the knowledge that she was the cause of this man’s pain and suffering was making her sick.

Then the inevitable happened; in her weakened state, with the additional stress of the horse ride along with this latest confrontation, and her lack of inattention to her state…she could feel herself sliding off of her horse, falling over the side, gasping in fear before crying out in pain as she was caught, her legs jarring yet again. She opened her streaming eyes, only to be greeted by Dirk’s face. She could see so many emotions playing for dominance in his expression, from concern to annoyance to awe, but she didn’t care about any of them. He hefted her up, so that he could better hold her, and she felt a fresh onslaught of tears burst forth. By all that was holy, it hurt.

She was breathing fast, gasping in pain, and managed to say in a relatively even voice, “Ouch.” She saw a smile flick over his face, before he turned his face away, looking to Sara for further direction, Illy still in his arms. She snuggled into him, and let her eyes close, trying her hardest not to pass out. The sound of the crowd was enormous, people yelling and shouting to know what was going on. She felt safe, now that she was back out on the streets. She knew that is should be just the opposite, but the dangers out here she knew, whereas in the palace they were all hidden in the darkest corners.

~~~~~

Dirk raised an eyebrow when he met the servant girl’s eyes, wondering if she was going to dictate where they go. After a moment she started speaking, and he sighed.

“We will handle the situation from this point,” the serving girl announced to the crowd, tilting her head slightly in his direction. “Leave us be, and move out of the way.”

He so did NOT need this, on top of everything else that was going on. He glanced around the crowd, uneasy at the general agitation, before he looked back to Illy’s…servant? Friend? Either way, she had called the girl Sara. He sighed again, shifted the limp weight in his arms, and spoke to the girl standing next to the horse with the rescued man huddled on it.

“Kristell’s Alehouse is closest, how about we take them there until they can move again?” He didn’t know what was going on, except that his friend Illy had more issues than anyone from the guild could have originally thought. Sara nodded her head, and led the horses, following Dirk. He led her over toward the Northern exit, the one that lead to the Inns of the city.

He saw a familiar face in the crowd, and walked past Bob, who was surveying the scene with more than a little amusement. Dirk paused for less then a breath, and glanced around at all the people who were still staring. “Take care of it?” he asked quickly, and quietly. Bob gave one sharp nod, then went of, vanishing into the crowd. Dirk sighed in relief, and continued toward North exit, knowing now that they wouldn’t be followed by anyone intending harm, and that the proper authorities would be notified.

~~~~~

Sara rolled her eyes, and decided to trust him. Illy had said that she had made a lot of…new….friends, and Illy wasn’t screaming for help, so Sara assumed that it was alright. Not that Illy would scream in any circumstance. She didn’t condone those feminine stereotypes, although she often did take advantage of them. Sara followed him out the North Square exit, onto Inn Rd, ignoring the commotion behind them. The very first building they came to, he shouldered the door open.

“What’s your name?” she asked the boy carrying her master. She was worried as to why Illy had blacked out again, and hoped that the stubborn girl had not pulled the stitching.

“Dirk,” he replied simply, and Sara was surprised at the deepness of his voice. Maybe not a boy then…but he still looked young. He seemed more than capable of carrying Illyasha’s weight, and with ease, so Sara didn’t pry.

Sara looked back over her shoulder out of curiosity, back toward the square, but almost no one was looking in their direction now. She thought that she could see a few people shadowing them; they would stop at the groups that were watching them, then move on, and the groups would go about their business. Or, she chided herself, Maybe I am being paranoid.

Sara didn’t know what was going on, or who it was that was following them, but she decided that they weren't hurting anyone yet, and turned back to the building that they had just finally come up to. She led the two horses around to the stables, and signaled a boy over to help her get the battered huntsman off of her horse, while she quickly went about stabling Illy’s. Dirk had taken Illy into the main room, and Sara was anxious to attend, and see what could be done to revive her.

~~~~~

Dirk signaled to Kristell, to get her attention. Not that almost everyone’s attention was on him, what with him caring Illy in his arms. She was still striking, even with the bandages on her face. And the cloths got everyone’s attention. They were rich enough for, well, a princess. Dirk was still confused about that. Illy and Illyasha, could just, not, be the same person. Well, whatever was going on, he would soon find out. Kristell came over, her forehead crinkled in concern. “I need a room, hot water, and some food” he said in a low voice. Kristell’s face cleared, and she nodded her head. She had been concerned that Dirk was bringing trouble into her Inn, again, but this was something that she knew how to do.

She led Dirk up the stairs, to a room at the end of the hall. “Secondary exit,” she murmured, to let him know that there was an extra door, a second door out. She knew him well. He leaned forward, and caught her mouth with his, to show his appreciation, then pulled back, grinning. Kristell blushed, and slapped his shoulder with the back of her hand. He gave a hearty laugh, the kind that will turn heads in a tavern, before walking into the room. There was one bed, but it had a doubled mattress, so, while holding Illy with one arm, he pulled on the top mattress, and drug it onto the floor, then deposited the sleeping girl onto the real bed. The man she had ‘rescued’ could be on the floor.

He made his way back into the hall, after making sure that his friend was as comfortable as could be expected, and was not surprised to find Kristell waiting for him. Her expression was fixed. He gave an inward groan, knowing that she would be asking for an explanation, and he just didn't know the answers to give, regaurdless of the fact that he would not of given them, had he known. He opened his mouth to make an excuse, when he saw the servent girl walking down the hall toward them.

Behind her was the stable boy, one arm supporting the injured man. Dirk closed his mouth, chewing on the inside of his lip. He would wait until the servent was out of site before debriefing Kristell. The girl gave him a parculiar look, before ushering the stable boy into the room that held the sleeping for of Illyasha. He promptly closed the door behind the girl, then turend his engageing grin onto the owner of the Inn.

She raised a delicatly crafted eyebrow, which seemed to hover over her large eyes, surounded by the nut-brown flesh. His smile wilted a little, and he gave a player's sigh, before holding a hand out to her, to escort her down to the common room again. They would be having a LONG talk.


© Copyright 2004 Krowhop (krowhop at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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