Chronicles of Dreven Trenz

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

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8. The Lair of Maeve the Red

Chapter 4 - The Lair of Maeve the Red

      I awoke the next morning, a cold smoothness upon my cheek. My eyes crack open, allowing the sunlight to fill them. I remember the night before, the dagger, its magic. I set up to gain my feet, Dreven has already started a fire and found some small game. I eagerly fill my stomach and shoulder my pack. We regain the trail and continue through the forest. Before long, the trees begin to thin, eventually giving way to open plains. In the distance, mountains jut like sharp fingers into the sky. I can just barely make out a cave opening. Before I can say anything, Dreven holds up his hand to halt me.

     "That cave isn't just a cave. There are guards." He was right. There were two rather surly looking men pacing back and forth. Considering the landscape was rather nondescript, so unfortunately the men saw us from quite a distance. The shine of their swords alerts me to the fact that they were prepared to end our journey with very little provocation. "Reiken, now is the time. Ready your blade." I do as he says, my hand curling around the ivory grip of Nixe-wen. Dreven reaches deep into his satchel, his hand returning clad in his bracelet. His hand clenches into a fist, as the men approach.

     "Boss said you were coming! Looks like we get a little action after all!" They raise their swords high, to perhaps deliver single killing blows to us both. The man in front was ill prepared.

     Beside me, I hear Dreven call out, "Aegis Impactum!" and I feel a burst of air emanate from his fist. The sudden impact strikes the man like a hammer and sends him reeling to the dirt, his partner stops short of us, his face slowly draining of color. "Now Reiken!" He calls to me, and I dart forward, Nixe-wen at the ready. I'm not fast enough, and my cut sails past the second man's ribs without making contact. I fear I may have just signed my death warrant, but my luck had not yet run out. The enchanted blade sings its song, the air crystallizing along the blades path. The frost lands upon the bandit, but instead of disappearing, it begins to spread, quickly immobilizing my target. Not being used to combat, my swing continues in its wide arc, depositing me on the ground. I look back toward Dreven, who was already on the move, his bracelet clad hand pulled back into a fist. "Terra Impactus!" Rock seems to form from the very air itself, coating Dreven's fist in thick stone. The punch is clean and shatters the ice holding the bandit in place. The bandit spins through the air, landing a short distance away, face down in the dirt. As the stone crumbles from Dreven's hand, he smiles back at me. "Well done Reiken. Though, I have a feeling that they weren't the only ones we will have to worry about." My grip tightens on Nixe-wen as we step gingerly into the cave entrance.

     The cave is dimly lit by torches lining the walls. There are wooden chairs, a couple tables, and assorted other poorly kept furniture. It is oddly empty. I cast a curious look to Dreven. His eyes are narrowed and searching every shadow. He places a finger over his lips, telling me to stay quiet, and points down a corridor at the back of the cave. Looking toward the back of the cave, I begin to hear voices. A man and a woman.

     "You will be brought to justice and my father's name will be restored! This I swear!" That was obviously Sir Roy. That meant that he was still alive. Which I counted among the few good things.

     "Oh calm down Roy-boy. This isn't the first time you've been here, and you'd think you'd learn to behave." That had to have been Maeve. I move quickly to the back of the cave, Nixe-wen firmly in my grasp.

     Dreven sidles up next to me, and nods toward the opening. He begins counting, placing three fingers up. I nod that I am ready. Two fingers. I raise my blade. One finger. I swallow hard, choking back my fear. His fist closes and we both leap into the room with a shout. I swing my blade wide, its song echoes in the chamber, and its frost drifts slowly to the floor of the room.

     We stand, Dreven and I, staring in confusion at the scene set before us. Sir Roy, relieved of his armor, sits tied to a chair. The chair is set at a table. Maeve sits opposite Sir Roy, her feet resting on the table and a look of slight annoyance upon her face.

     "Smite this foul woman and free me! Now is the chance!" Sir Roy struggles in the chair, its rocking eventually turning into a tipping. Sir Roy's body and the chair its tied to hit the floor with a solid thud. "Ooof!" Is the only thing Sir Roy can say.

     "Oh now look what you've done. I bring him here to talk with him in private and here you two blunder in. I have half a mind to thrash you myself." Maeve stands, giving her blazing red hair a light flip. "Though, now that you're here, you might as well make yourself comfortable." She kicks a couple chairs clear of the table and we sit slowly. Slightly dumbfounded at the whole situation.
     Dreven shakes his head and finally speaks. "You have me at a loss, Maeve. Here I thought you may be harming Sir Roy, yet here you are, having a conversation. Though..." Dreven looks to the floor where Sir Roy now lay, fuming. "He doesn't seem that invested in what you have to say."

     I nod in agreement, also managing to find my voice. "It does seem odd that you would kidnap this knight, and tie him to a chair just to talk. What more would you want with him? To sell him again?" My curiosity was slowly rising. This was truly an odd situation all around.

     Maeve opens her mouth to say something, but closes it again. She bites her knuckle as though trying to gather her thoughts. Her cheeks begin to flush, nearly turning as red as her hair. She turns her head and looks to an empty corner of the room. I hear a cough, and a quick laugh, my attention is pulled to the source of the sound. Its Dreven. His hand is too his mouth and he is trying not to laugh. I tilt my head in confusion and he composes himself. "Dear Reiken," he begins, "what I believe is going on here is that fair Maeve may be smitten with our dashing knight!" Maeve's cheeks had turned a deep crimson at this point, and my eyes go wide.

     "So what you're saying...is that, she's kidnapped him so often so as to spend time with him?!" I find it almost impossible stifle my own laughter, and finally a snicker escapes my mouth when from the floor, behind the table I hear a loud and indignant, "PREPOSTEROUS!" I nearly fall from my chair with laughter, and Maeve turns her back quickly.

     "What if I am...smitten...its not as though this daft knight will ever feel the same way. I'm a bandit. He's a knight. We are naturally at odds with each other. Kidnapping is the only pretense that I can think of that won't get me arrested, gets me paid, and allows me time with...with him." Her shoulders slump and she sits back into her chair. Dreven has reset Sir Roy into the proper sitting position and cut his binds. Sir Roy sits speechless, staring across the table.

     "Is this so...that such a spurious person as yourself...has..." He clears his throat. "Tell me true. Do you truly feel this way?" Maeve gives a slight nod, and Sir Roy raises his eyes to the ceiling and gives a heavy breath. "This leaves me in a quandary..."

     "How so?" Asks Dreven quizzically.

     "She is a wanted criminal. I am a knight of the court...or...should be. Even if I were to entertain the notion of...being with her, I see no way it could work." He looks over to Maeve, her face becoming downtrodden.

     My mind races, but finally an idea flashes through my mind. "What if you were to run away together?!" Three pairs of eyes quickly focus on me, but my mind is racing, and the thoughts move faster than my self conscious ways. "Hear me out! Maeve has been kidnapping and reselling Sir Roy for some time now, yes?" Maeve nods in agreement, a sly smirk on her lips. "Sir Roy has been trying to apprehend Maeve for just as long, correct?" Sir Roy nods slowly. I think I know how to restore Sir Roy's family honor, fulfill Maeve's arrest, and allow you both your happy endings! Smiles and glances flash around our table, and amidst the dim light of the Lair of Maeve the Red, my plan begins coming together.

End Chapter 4

 

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