The Loneliest Traid

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  • Published: 2 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 13 May 2017
  • Status: Complete
Love and death and war and Gods and blood and magic and dancing and rest and revenge and kings and fate.
Don't worry, within these three stories you'll know yourself,
And I will put you back together again.

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4. The Son of an Arrow

He aimed his blade at the base of his throat, “How dare you.”

    The man laughed, and pushed Chene’s sword aside.  If he were stronger, maybe he would have tried to plunge it through Chene’s neck, but the man only took one stride before he was breathing Chene’s air, and neither could find it in themselves to fight back.

    “How dare I?  You are a funny man, soldier.”

    Chene sheathed his weapon again, his face faltering for a moment in surprise.  The man seemed to notice.

    “What is it?” he said.  His words sounded like a song, his accent thick, his ears pointed even beneath the weight of piercings and golden tattoos.  His skin was as dark as broken branches, and it soaked in all of the light in the room, all eyes trailing up and down the stranger's figure.

    “Who are you?” Chene said, more accusation than invitation to explain.

    “Forgive me,” the elf rolled his wrist, lowered his head.  Chene, who had never been bowed to before, took a cautious step back, “I am Gomez, son of King Dryad.  I have come to share a message, but have found myself in enemy territory, I’m afraid.”

Chene pulled out his sword again, realising exactly why he had been given orders to chase down this stranger.  He was elvish.  Chene realised he had never seen his enemies up close before.  Granted, he hadn’t yet killed one either, but in all his years in King Sinder’s army he had never once seen an elf.  He had expected them to be taller.

    “A mistake on your part,” Chene said, bringing up what little accent he had, if only to seem more powerful than the scut he was in this rank.

    Gomez looked up, meeting his eyes for a moment.  Chene felt his ears go hot.

    “Yes, I’m afraid that is true.  I didn’t know that your king had men out in these parts.  We were led to believe that the desert regions would be neutral for the time being.”

    “Well now you know, and you can hardly go back to your king with that knowledge,” one of the other soldiers said.  He aimed an arrow at the elf’s head.  It only took the sound of the grip slipping from the string for Gomez to duck forward and grab the arrow between two straight fingers.  He took a moment, spinning it in his fingers, pulling away at the feathers at the end and sighing like a child.  Something about him put Chene on edge, but he was not the captain, so he took a step back.  Maybe it was his courtesy, or his shining marking, or the way he managed to hold a room’s attention, even as a fiend and enemy.  

    The captain of their patrol stepped forward, but each word Gomez said, he addressed to Chene.

    “People like you,” the captain spat, “They’ll get this war started early.  You have it coming, you and your blasted ruler.”

“It was a mistake, sir.”

    “Was it?  Then how did you get into this place?”

    “It is a tavern, is it not?  I stopped for a rest, and for a drink.  It has been a long walk from where I come from, you see.  It has been a tireless journey looking for who my message is addressed to.”

    “What message?”

    Gomez shook his head, almost solely, “I’m afraid I cannot say.”

    “Spill it, fae beast.” their captain placed a dagger at his chin.

    This seemed to offend him, but only for a moment.  A passing of a dark cloud over the sun.  He glanced uneasily at Chene once more, before pulling back, “I will not speak, captain, I am sorry.”

Fae do not lie, and neither was the stranger this time, the captain knew that much, so he pulled one of his men to attention and pushed the elf into his arms, “Give this man his last drink and a bed for the night.  In the morning, we contact their king, and see if his blood is worth keeping inside his skin.”

    The soldiers laughed and tossed the stranger away, up the tavern steps and behind a locked door.  Before he left he cast Chene a glance and what could have been a smirk if they were old friends, but Chene took the expression from his mind’s eye, not wanting to dwell on it any longer, not wanting to be tricked.

And yet that night as he waited in a barstool for another sign of the stranger, a sight that did not come that eve, he found himself mulling over how a forest creature so soft and cunning found himself so many miles over in a land of hot sands and ocean expanse.  He downed the last of his larger, and fell asleep there with his head in his hands and his mind caught on the stranger that had so easily infiltrated the war that sparked not a week after their meeting, and had everything to do with the next morning, where Chene found himself locked on the other side of Gomez’s bedroom, caught with an arrow between his ribs.

 

Their world was called Cardeni.  You may never visit their world, but know that your wars and theirs are similar.  You hearts beat the same and your tears dry alike.  It is the third multi-triquarter from Earth and consists of one planet beneath dense space, as tough to the touch as stone and as black as a starless sky.  No one knew where their Gods lived.  Perhaps between these dimensions, or in the void itself.  Although no one could ever be sure, it was at the edge of this exact idea where our next tale began.

    Between the end of land and the beginning of space there was a place that was a market for the evil of their world.  Named Mavros, it was never touched by war so it thrived as a dealership for weapons and spells so dark those who entered never seemed to be the same again.

    It was here that he was born and raised, a wizard boy, the grandson of someone all knew but no one remembered the name of, the husband of the great Gadanx, who was the warrior alongside - and in fact the sister of - the legend Chene.

There is a saying in parts of Cardeni, “All tides load the same driftwood”, meaning that all things in the universe are interconnected, and at the same time that our Chene was knocking on the door of Gomez’s bedroom, truth enchanted honey in one hand and a key in the other, Gomez was pulling back an arrow, Samhain was waking with a start, and the grandson of Gadanx was jumping over the ribboned canopies of a notorious potions dealer tent.

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