What is one, lowly peasant boy in a world of implacable Kings and scheming, murderous Nobles?

One with a destiny beyond imagining.

Young Braen is a simple shepherd, like his father, and his before him. Nothing ever changes in the village of Stonesthrow, save for the turning of the seasons.

But when death finds him, the young man quickly learns that 'the end' is not so clear-cut.

At least, not for those granted the gift of immortality.


Author's note

(Some of the names and terms I've outright invented (which is most of them) might be confusing as far as their proper pronunciation goes, so here will be a (likely) ever-expanding list to aid you, dear reader, with just that!)

Braen - Bray-en (Celtic inspired)

Rion - Rye-on (Celtic inspired)

Meira - Meer-a

Patras - Pah-trahs (Mediterranean inspired)

Kleonic Marathon - Klee-oh-nik Marath-on (Kleon is derived from the Greek word 'Kleos' which means 'glorious'. 'Marathon' was the site of a famous battle during the Greco-Persian wars.

Urik - Your-ik (Anglo-Saxon inspired)

Obfuscationist - Ob-few-scay-shun-ist (Obviously not a 'real' word, but it damn well should be!)

12. Chapter 12

The day was a gusty one. Trees swayed to and fro, and villagers scurried hectically to prevent their valuables from being blown away. 


'Father?' Said young Travin quizzically. 'Why is Urik not with us?'


In the eastern sky, towering thunderheads were beginning to build and would no doubt develop into a storm soon.


The two riders were accompanied by a retinue of maille-clad men at arms, indicating that they were no ordinary travelers, but Men of standing.


'Your Brother is attending to matters of great import', young buck' said the older Man, smiling as he playfully ruffled his son's hair. 'Were it not for his administrative prowess, we would not be on the road to see your Grandmother'


He smiled again, but the boy could not bring himself to return it. Barely a month ago, Urik had been something of an embarrassment to the family: a clueless buffoon who had caroused with his drinking-companions all hours of the night and had caused a scandal with a Tavern Wench a year before. 


Now, as if struck by a bolt of lightning from the blue, hapless and uncaring Urik had suddenly developed a genius for the running of a Castle and land. In the month since, he had managed to work wonders with the treasury in ways that none before him had ever imagined possible, to the extent where he had even been able to commission a muralist at the price of seven hundred silver Laudings, for the purpose of 'giving credence to our Noble splendor', in his own words.


Lord Huwan II Estling of Riverdown had been pleased with his heir's inexplicable aptitude and had praised his turnaround.


But the Estling-youngest had begun to notice things.


Things of an abnormal nature.


Urik had always been a fool, but he had been a good Brother to Travin for as long as he could remember, bringing him exotic daggers and even a sword back from distant lands in his many diplomatic sojourns with Father.


Recently, however, he had begun to ignore Travin, opting instead to cast silencing glares at him whenever he tried to speak, and had even gone so far as to strike him when they had been alone, commanding him to 'keep his useless mouth shut'.


A thing that had hurt far more than just his eye, which was still black and bruised from the blow. The Urik he knew would never have done such a thing.


Worse still, Father seemed oblivious to it all. No amount of pleading or persuading had even so much as moved the Noble Patriarch, and he now sided with Urik on all matters, which ran counter to the Man's very nature and temperament.


Something was terribly wrong.


'Father?' he said again, grimacing. 'Will we...........will we be stopping soon?'


The young Noble was rubbing his mangled left leg, which was paining him once again. The result of an accident in his infancy.


'Yes, of course' replied the Lord, turning to one of his guards. 'How far to the nearest village, Hoben?'


'Not far, M'Lord' said the Man, swerving his mount suddenly to avoid a large, half-buried stone in the road. 'I reckon a league from here, as the crow flies'


'What is the name of this town?'


He thought for a minute before replying.


'Stonesthrow, i believe'. 

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