Chronicles of Dreven Trenz

First run of a series I may continue. Be gentle. Its my first time.

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6. A Fateful Encounter

Chapter 2: A Fateful Encounter

     We spoke at length with Sir Roy, and learned quite a bit about the knight. His family had once been protectors of this city, the black armor given as proof of service to the local lord. We set about gathering supplies needed for our search for Maeve the Red. There was, however, one question on my mind that had piqued my curiosity more than most.

     "I must ask, Sir Roy, why did that man in the tavern laugh at you? Surely a knight of your stature commands respect. I witnessed others in the alleyways stifling themselves as we made our way. Do they not know of you or your family?" The knight glances in my direction and gives a heavy sigh, his shoulders droop and he removes his helm.

     "It is true. My family was set in place as protectors, yet I garner none of the respect my father had when he wore the armor." Sir Roy sits upon a stool and leans over a table. "I am...accident prone." He reaches for a large bowl on the table filled with a variety of seeds and nuts. Selecting a large walnut he examines it closely and drops it back into the bowl. "The man in the tavern laughed because earlier this week he sold me." My head tilts in confusion at this, and Sir Roy continues. "I had been out in the forest when I was awoken by a woman calling for help. Upon attempting to assist her, I was waylaid and brought back to town as a slave." It seemed a rather unfortunate situation to me, but I hear a light cough from the other side of the room. I look over and see Dreven trying to stifle a laugh of his own.

     "That old trick, eh?" Dreven drops his hat atop his head and pulls it down on his head. "I applaud your willingness to help a damsel in distress, but you seem rather naive when it comes to certain situations." He chuckles lightly to himself and shoulders his satchel. "Now then, let's see if we can find your previous captors, and hopefully, " he gives me a sly wink, "make sure it doesn't happen again." I giggle and place my own pack on my shoulders. Sir Roy grumbles a bit, but does the same with his pack. We set out from our room and leave the main gates. The forest stretches out before us, lush and green. The seasons had changed without me noticing. We make our way down the trail, sunlight shines through the canopy, dotting the dirt path with light. Dreven signals us to stop and we move to the side of the road. Just ahead, we see three men conversing in a clearing. We slowly, quietly, make our way forward to get within earshot.

     "He was in the tavern eh?" Says one of the men, his tone gruff and lined with a chuckle.

     "Oh yes. There was no mistaking that armor." Says the smaller man. His voice sounded familiar.

     "I wonder 'ow much 'is partner 'ad to pay for 'im this time!" Adds the third. All three give a hearty laugh and look around as though expecting someone. "She's a bit late she is!" Rumbles the thrid man.

     "She said she would be here. So we're going to stay put. You know how she gets when we don't stick to the plan." This was said by the short man. I'm finally able to place the voice. It's the weaselly man from the tavern back in town! I nudge Dreven to call his attention to my discovery and he nods in recognition. Sir Roy must have noticed too, because he was trying to get to his feet when we hear someone clear their throat at the opposite edge of the clearing.

     Her voice sounded like velvet, soft, but tempered. "Have you three been waiting long?" Her blazing red hair catches the light and shines like fire. I find myself transfixed as the woman continues to speak. "Sorry to have kept you waiting. I had other things to attend to. So, what news do you bring me?" She folds a bit of her hair behind an ear and shifts to her hip. The man from the tavern speaks up.

     "It was him. That daft knight, if you could call such a man a knight." He gives a derisive laugh. "Should we keep things up, that man will make us all rather wealthy." He wrings his hands greedily. The first man chimes in.

     "If we're able to capture and sell him a few more times, we should be able to retire in comfort. Shouldn't be a problem either, considering how easily he is tricked."

     "Even iff'n we 'ave to conk 'im on the 'ead again!" The third man adds, smacking his fist into his other palm.

     The woman has drawn a dagger, its blade a crimson red. She spins it in her hand, light flashing off of the sharp edges. "Now now boys. No need to get ahead of ourselves. Its true we've made quite a bit of coin off of that silly man, but we may need to come up with a new ruse. You three head back. I'll meet you there soon. There's something I need to do." With that, she motions the three away and slides her dagger back into its scabbard. Once the three are out of sight, the woman turns her eyes towards us. "If you were trying to sneak up on me, you'll need to do better than that Roy-boy." A slight smile appears on her face, and I recoil. How did she know where we were?! Sir Roy stands slowly, his armor scraping as it slides back into place.

     "You knew we were here. How?" Asks the knight. His hand now rested on the hilt of his sword.

     The woman raises an eyebrow, her smile turning into a smirk. "We? First of all, you use way too much oil to polish that fancy armor, and secondly, why not have your friends join us, hmm?" My eyes widen and I watch Dreven slowly get to his feet and I follow suit. We dust ourselves off and step up next to the now flustered Sir Roy. Dreven is the first to speak.

     "You are talented, miss." Dreven smiles his toothy grin and pokes the brim of his hat upwards. "I take it that you are the eponymous Maeve the Red?"

     The woman steps forwards, her eyes dancing between the three of us. She stops just shy of Sir Roy. "I know this big lug here, we've had...business before." Sir Roy visibly bristles. "As for you two, " she points at Dreven and I, "you have me at a disadvantage. Indeed I am Maeve the Red, yet I know not your faces, nor names."

     Dreven gives a slight nod and removes his hat in a sweeping motion. "Disadvantages can be a dangerous thing. I am known as Dreven Trenz. My young friend here is Reiken."

     Maeve nods and steps around Sir Roy, poking a thumb back at him. "How came you by this dunce? Surely he didn't harangue you into helping him?"

     At this, Sir Roy draws his sword and points it at Maeve's back. "Foul blackguard! Fiendish rogue! You have sullied my name and reputation, and still you insult me. Turn and face me, coward, and be brought to justice!"

     Maeve turns, a look of incredulity on her face. "Blackguard? Rogue? You use such language with a lady? I should be the one who is insulted." She slowly raises a hand and brushes the blade to the side. "All the time we spent together? Those long nights, you tied to a chair, once again caught through my devious plots. You'd think you would be used to me by now." Sir Roy looked as though he was about to strike Maeve down, when she steps to him and places a hand on his cheek. "I did so enjoy those times, be they ever so brief." She runs her fingers down his face. Sir Roy turned red as the dawn, and he jumped backwards.

     "Unhand me, vile criminal! I shall not associate myself with the likes of you!" His blade was once again extended towards Maeve. I hear Dreven laugh next to me.

     "I do believe, young Reiken, that we may have accidentally found our way into a lovers quarrel." He laughs again, and I join in. Maeve glances over her shoulder at us and reaches into a pocket. She pulls a small item from her pocket and holds it up. It is a small red device that I do not recognize. There is a familiar twinkle in Dreven's eye, when he sees the item, but before I can ask what it might be, Maeve gives us a wink and presses a small button. Thick black smoke pours from the device, obscuring our view and causing us to choke. Through the smoke I hear Dreven cough and recite a spell. "Aegis Minora." A light wind kicks up and pushes the smoke away. The clearing is vacant! Maeve, as well as Sir Roy had both vanished!

     "What sorcery is this?!" I exclaim, searching the entire clearing.

     "This was no sorcery. This was something entirely different." He returns his hat to his head and a grin spreads across his face. "This, dear Reiken, is the next item we need." My eyes widen as he explains this. Dreven turns his eyes to the ground and searches. "Ah. This way then. Let us save Sir Roy, and retrieve this item, shall we?" I nod and we both quickly head down one of the paths.

END CHAPTER 2

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