Home Sweet HomeStarted by Breccan Windmaster at 15 Apr, 2020 1:24 PM
5th Moon 14, 2020
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
In the end, Breccan, Rhagarth, and Ketevan wound up spending another night in the Sask wilderness. Breccan had done a fairly in-depth reconnaissance of the area. For one thing, he wanted to know what they were flying into. For another, he wanted to find a place where they could land and face the least amount of time on the walk to Ketevan's hold. Lastly, but most important, Breccan did not want to risk having Rhagarth wounded or killed by felldrakes.
Another imperative was finding more suitable clothing and shoes for the girl. She could not walk far barefooted. That turned out to be the easiest task. He found a small village that actually sported a clothing shop. It had taken some guesswork on his part, but he had finally made purchases of clothing and a pair of soft, flat-heeled boots for Ketevan. When the shopkeeper asked in a friendly but wary voice who he was buying the garments for, Breccan explained that they were a gift for his wife to make up having been gone for a very long time. That seemed to satisfy him, but Breccan knew how Sask viewed strangers. In case the clothier alerted others, he got Rhagarth to carry them to a different location before they camped for the night.
Now, all that was left was making the four-hour trek to the hold. To make sure they were not viewed as hostiles trying to sneak in, Breccan led them along a trail and then angled in the direction where he knew the main road lay. Breccan paused and shared his water skin with Ketevan, "Well, we should see your hold within a few hours. Should we expect search parties that might not ask questions first?"
I will do what I damn well please!
It was taking longer than she expected to see her home again but then by now Ketevan certainly trusted the man did not have any evil intentions toward her. Even after the initial rescue, while much appreciated, she still had harbored suspicions he may well have had an ulterior motive as opposed to being just chivalrous. But if that had been true would they now be deep in her country? The Saski were not very hospitable to outsiders so the man and his big lizard were taking quite the risk.
Still, two could play honorable, Ketevan had no intentions of doublecrossing the man who saved her life, why would she? She would tell the truth to her father and make certain he did not do anything rash, she was confident she could control his temper. And once he heard her out, well her father could also be a reasonable man.
Newly provided with some half way decent garb, they now were making their way thru a side trail paralleling the main road to her home castle. He was plainly still very worried. Disappointing to be sure, but Ketevan figured it was due to the fearsome reputation the Saski had established. As her father oft said, "It is good to be feared."
He now offered her a drink from the waterskin and asked "Well, we should see your hold within a few hours. Should we expect search parties that might not ask questions first?"
"Anything is possible but I doubt they are searching for me this close to home. They would realize if I were this close, I'd have made my way back. But there could be the normal patrols, one thing about my father, he is always thinking about war and tactics and strategy. That includes making certain he is not attacked by surprise. Patrols can fore warn such occurances," she answered calmly.
"Stop being so afraid, I am with you. Do you still not believe me that I can keep you quite unharmed. There is no one in my father's garrison who does not recognize me," she smiled.
"Fear is hardly an issue," Breccan told the girl with a glance over at Rhagarth. The dragon had once again assumed human form. She had patiently done as much as she could to make travel easier on them.
"If it's not fear, then what?" Keti did not get it.
"Caution is also warranted in a new land. But, I agree, it is time to move onto the main road where we can make better time."
"Well about time then, follow me," suddenly the young brunette headed for the road and then began marching confidently down the dirt trail toward her home, her father's fortress.
It did not take long when the trio were in sight of towers looming on the horizon, familiar towers to the girl.
"See that ahead, I live there," she announced with pride. To someone who was not well traveled, her home was just about the grandest place ever. Of course she had not laid eyes on any of the huge cities of this world. No doubt the contrast would be jarring.
Also in the distance but closing was a party of riders on horses coming in their direction. It could be merchants perhaps but Keti was confident they were soldiers. Saski soldiers.
Breccan muttered, "I have a bad feeling about this." He glanced at Rhagarth, "Keep your hands away from your weapons...for now." To Ketevan, he said, "Try to keep us from being killed outright. At least give me and Rhagarth an opportunity to make sure you are safe and get away."
I will do what I damn well please!
Ketevan frowned, "Honestly for such brave ones, you really worry too much. I will take charge here, you just watch."
The riders continued to approach, details were coming more apparent. The first few in the lead were wearing chainmail and gleaming steel helmets with nasals to protect the nose. They carried lances and on teardrop brightly painted shields were on one arm. Behind them were lesser equipped soldiers, probably commoners. A couple were carrying crossbows. Ketevan let them come to within shouting distance.
"Hail ! We are not enemies!" she cried out lifting one hand in the universal gesture of 'stop' or at least 'slow down'.
When they got within several yards, the riders pulled on their reins and the party came to a halt. One of the lead riders spoke up.
"My lady? Is that you?"
"Yes, of course it is, Makred. I am quite safe but eager to see home," she nodded then answered with a big smile.
"Your father will be glad, he thought you dead," the knight replied.
"Do I look dead to you?"
"Hardly. Who are these firenki ? (Saski word for foreigners and rather insulting)"
"They saved me. You will honor and respect them. Do you understand?" Keti's voice sounded stern, hard.
"Of course, my lady, we are here to serve you," the knight gave a solemn bow as did the others, it was clear this young woman held a lot of sway in this place.