In a land not so far away called (Author thinks) Isendale. There lived a maiden not so very fair of countenance. Growing up in a simple house with simple parents on a simple farm. One might think growing up with such a simple life this maiden of not so fair countenance would be simple. You would be right. Having no greater aspirations other then to go beyond the yonder glen to Isendale's deep wooded forest. Day after day of milking cows, feeding the sheep and sowing the ground. This not so fair maiden whom was called (Author thinks again) Eadwyn, was in great need of a change in her life.
Not so far away from this simple farm where this simple maiden called Eadwyn lived. There is a fair of face young man, squire to a even fairer of face Knight. They were on a quest to find a noble man for the kings feast that was not but a fortnight away. They had encountered many a persons along their journey in finding a noble man. Coming across one peddler who swore he had defeated a Lady fair from her renegade outlaw brothers. An old knight lounged against a tree next to the road. Who told them of his travels and quests for the king. [This mans name being Dennis, whom the King had only met once and in this meeting neither one took to each other well.]
Knight and Squire in all their meetings had yet to find a noble and honest man.
The knight perched atop his noble steed whom we shall call ( ... ) Belric and his steed simple called Prince. Followed closely by his squire Redwald upon his own pony known as Pekupstix (This same pony was known from a foal to pick up sticks in his pasture and toss them into the pasture of his half brother Reelymuswee.)
Heads held high with their quest in hand, Knight and Squire continued their journey.
Back at the simple farm where simple Eadwyn was walking into town. Being her routine ever Friday afternoon to visit a poor old widowed woman. Simple Eadwyn, never expecting anything out of the normal, came upon a band of men ransacking a cart. On closer inspection one would have seen the Clergyman tied to a nearby tree with a burly looking man standing over him holding a mean looking weapon one might assume in being a hammer of sorts. This would have given any a person, especially a young lady alone, quite a scare and most would have fled the scene at hand, But Eadwyn was not quite like everyone else. In seeing the situation at hand, Eadwyn merely kept walking, as if it was a rare bird she had come upon and the initial shock of it having worn off, moved on. As she walked past this scene, as if it were nothing, Burly man #2 who was tearing through the cart, noticed Eadwyn passing. Taking a second for the man to realize what this meant, he moved as fast as his bulky form would allow him and grabbed Eadwyn with a rough hand and threw her to the ground.
[This is where in the story you would assume Knight and Squire hear the screams of a maiden and come running to her rescue. I hate to disappoint. For the Knight and squire were headed in the opposite direction. Now back to the story.]
Eadwyn falling hard to the ground gave a *oompf* with a flabbergasted look upon her face. Looking up, to what she would assume was the heavens, she looked at her assailants face. The man who's looks most woman would scream at, merely made simple Eadwyn furrow her brow and blink. Not waiting for this not so fair of countenance maiden to speak. The man grabbed a nearby rope and tied her hands and feet. Eadwyn watched as the man finished and went back to the task put on hold because of her and pondered her current predicament. While pondering this the man guarding the clergyman, whom Eadwyn had not noticed, came and dragged her to the tree beside the clergyman. Eadwyn listened to the whimpers of the man beside her, who would be around thirty years of age. Eadwyn, not fully understanding the gravity of hers and the clergyman's situation, merely stayed quiet assuming they would release her in due time. Of course this never happened and soon after the men had all there was to be had. Loaded Eadwyn and her companion into the cart and went on their merry way, leaving behind the unwanted remnants of their escapade.
A short while away from where Eadwyn was taken captive. Knight and Squire were still in search of a noble man for the kings feast. Unknowing of the trouble at foot not so very far from them. Whistling a tune in merriment of the adventure they were sure to meet along the way. While passing down the lane they came upon a run down farm that looked very simple indeed. It was so simple in fact, that you couldn't help to not notice the state of such simpleness. There were no flowers, no fence to keep out animals, no sign with a family name or crest, no curtains in the window and no sound around to make one think there was life inside. That was until a woman came around the house in such an abrupt manner that it startled both Belric and his steed Prince. As Prince reared in horror, shrilling out a horrifying whiny, Belric went tumbling off the back of Prince. In all the commotion the lady gasped and came running over as Belric tried to become untangled from the web of his clothes now restraining him. Once untangled he jumped to his feet, turning abruptly around to the lady, ready to take arms against any 'Bad Luck' she might send in his direction again. As the Lady fervently fussed over him making sure he was alright, all the while apologizing fervently. Belric, being the noble Knight that he was, in turn forgave the woman and mounted his steed once more. As the lady in short apologized for startling them she begin to fuss again over how her daughter had not returned and how the sun was almost down. Belric, always up for another adventure, asked if she would want him to take the road to town to see if he could find her. The lady, pouring out her gratitude, agreed to this and Knight and Squire changed their course and headed towards the town called Glendale.
A little further away, Eadwyn was bouncing around in the back of a cart with her fellow captive the clergyman. Sighing in such a way that one might think she was only dealing with the children who had tied her to a tree and ran off not but a month ago. Hitting another very large pot hole she bounced so high up that when she came back down, she was no longer on the cart. Lying on the ground in a daze for a moment, Eadwyn finally sat up and looked around. Looking back at the cart that had just disposed of her, she saw that only the clergyman had noticed she was missing. The Clergyman got the same idea, as if this would have never occurred to him otherwise, followed suit and flung himself out of the cart. Unfortunately he did not have as much luck or grace as Eadwyn in his fall and toppled and rolled on the ground as one might assume a sack of grain would. The two newly disposed captives where now in a new predicament. Where were they and how where they to find any place to stay before night fall?
Now this was Redwald's very first quest as a squire and he was very excited, being as he was only a lad of fifteen summers. Everything held adventure and every bend in the path was exciting when you never knew who or what you would happen upon. He learned very quickly that Belric was not a Knight he desired much conversation, which was fine with the young squire. This gave Redwald the time to make up all the adventures they didn't have in his mind, at they were very exciting quests indeed. Glancing up at Belric and Prince, Redwald couldn't help but think to himself that they were a pair of fitted gloves. They both holding their head high as if the were the hero's of the world as Prince pranced as if he was walking on coals. You could almost see Belric prance just as much with Prince gait. Redwald, shaking his head, could not imagine being so proud if ever he were to happen to be a knight someday. He would rescue the weak, help those in need, save all distressed damsels, find children who were lost and...
Eadwyn and the Clergyman, in the most peculiar way found a way to untie the rope binding their hands together. One might assume having gone through so much with one person that they would feel a need to speak, nay, and obligation to reassure, but this was not the case with the two. No word ever passing between them, almost as if they knew there was no reason for words. Then again, perhaps the Clergyman was so wary to speak to such a simple creature he thought it best to keep from breaking the silence. Then one might say, 'is that not an odd excuse for such a man in your position of the church?' For indeed it is a sorry excuse, yet, will we ever truly know?
Eadwyn walked with purpose, as if she had been in this area of the wild woods before and knew exactly where to go. After about 2 hours of walking, Clergyman started to wonder if she truly knew where she was going. Not wanting to break the silence, yet curiosity getting the better of him, he finally spoke. "Lassy? Do ye knew whereabouts where ye head'd perchance?" Eadwyn stopped abruptly and turned toward the Clergyman, stepping back, although not truly knowing why. Eadwyn simply said, "Nay." Such a simple answer from such a simple lass with such a simple mind, what more did he expect? He dared to ask another question, "Perchance we should be head'd east me lass?" This time Eadwyn did not turn around and merely said, "Nay" yet again. Growing frustrated he felt as if this was some sort of game she was playing, had he thought harder, he would have remembered she was a simple lass. "Then why be ye head'd due south when we were headed due north in the first place?" Eadwyn simply kept walking. The clergyman about to start another rant as they were breaking through the brush stopped abruptly when he heard a scream, thinking it might be Eadwyn, noticed that it came from a young lad on a pony that had spooked. Looking at Eadwyn, who had he head tilted, had the most peculiar look on her face.
Redwald, having calmed down by now, noticed the object of his and his pony's startle. Belric having just now figured something was amiss had come back with Prince. Wasting no time whatsoever, asked "What pleasure is this that I might meet a pretty lass and a holy man?" As if on cue, Prince gave a dip to his head in sync with Belric. Holding back the urge to roll his eyes, Redwald nudged his pony a little behind Prince. The clergyman relayed their happenings with the ruffians who had ransacked his cart and taken both Eadwyn and him captive and how they got away. In return Belric relayed they were in search of a noble and honest man for the Kings feast in less then a fortnight. In a matter of minutes, Belric had taken on another task, to take the Clergyman and Eadwyn wherever they wanted to go. So their quest continued with the addition of two more.
Knight, Squire, Eadwyn and Clergyman were now on quest to find the lost maiden from Glendale. One might have thought to put the pieces of the puzzle together connecting Eadwyn's and the Clergyman's story with the missing maiden story. Although perhaps there was one who had already put it together and might have slightly failed in mentioning such. Conversation was scarce for the first traveling day until the sun was about to go in for the night. The moon taking precedent over the sky, the group came to a clearing and made camp. Redwald immediately started unpacking his pony and setting up camp as Belric had already found a spot upon the ground and was now sleeping. Turning to now take care of Prince, Redwald found the horse with no saddle or bridle and now being brushed by Eadwyn. "Nay Lady, ye shouldn't be..." Started Redwald before he was interrupted, "Squire," Clergyman stepped into his path, "Could ye perchance lend me your blanket?" Redwald furrowed his brow and looked back at Eadwyn, "Should not the Lady need the blanket for the night?" Clergyman gave a look like Redwald had lost it, "'Lady'? Whom perchance might ye be call'in 'Lady'? I tell ye now Squire, there be no 'Lady' among us, just a creature much like a dairy maid." It was almost next to impossible for Redwald to keep the disgust off his face, but he hid it well with his normal blank look. Without another word Redwald walked away from the Clergyman and back to his previous chores. Unknowing the conversation Eadwyn had tucked herself under a nearby tree and had fallen asleep. Figuring he should probably get some rest himself, Redwald followed suit and soon found dreams taking over.
The next morning brought with it a freshness for life. Adventure was on around the bend and they all could feel it. They were sure to find the missing maiden soon. On the trail again, Belric and Prince took the lead carrying also Eadwyn. Poor Pekupstix found himself in tow with not only Redwald but the Clergyman as well. Neither Redwald nor the pony were very happy about their extra load. The day was still young and they had already come across one stumbling man rambling on about how he had tripped over a cart wheel some mile back. Belric, easily distracted, set out to find this wheel the man had gone on about. Clergyman mumbling behind Redwald, "What is wrong with your Knight, Squire? Tis but a cart wheel, this has nothing to do with us." Pekupstix rolled and shook his head as if saying,"Please do something about the obnoxious sounding donkey, dear master." Redwald would have loved to happily oblige his pony, but the only solution he could think of was to gag the clergyman and tie him to a tree and leave him. No, Redwald knew better then to do that to a man of the church and he didn't want that sin, if it was one, to come on him. They soon came across the cart wheel the rambling man spoke of. Belric regally jumped down from Prince and examined the wheel. After about 5 minutes of Belric studying the wheel and the path he said to no one in particular, "They were heading northeast, to the right." Redwald furrowed his brow, knowing his Knights odd behavior still could not help thinking, "That took him 5 minutes to figure out? The wheel is on the right side of the fork." Shaking his head he kicked his pony and followed after them to the Northeast.
"Sire," Redwald asked after about 2 hours into their new quest, "Why are we following a broken cart?" Clergyman huffed behind Redwald and mumbled, "Finally someone asks." Belric, barely giving him a cursory glance merely said, "I have a hunch," Redwald decided he'd just follow along with it like he always did and not ask. A moment later he heard, "It must be from having another person up here." As if by a miracle from the heavens, Eadwyn spoke, "Stop." As if surprised himself over such a shocking turn of events and without question from his master, Prince stopped. Belric gave a confused look as Eadwyn slid to the ground. Eadywn, without a word, walked backed into the woods they had been riding beside. Knight, Squire and Clergyman held the same look of puzzlement, but after about 2 minutes it soon turned into more surprise. Eadwyn walked out of the heavily wooded trees with two horses behind her. Neither wore a saddle or bridle and both looked as if they were of the same blood as Prince except with a touch of wild in them. Eadwyn spoke simply, "Clergyman." Already knowing what she meant the Clergyman was shaking his head. "No, no, no, I do not ride in such a barbaric manner, how could you even think...!" Redwald interrupted, "I'll ride one." For the first time Eadwyn truly looked at him, making Redwald finally feel like a man. Redwald hopped off Pekupstix and started to walk over when he heard his pony give a nicker. Redwald looked back, "It won't be for long Pekupstix , I promise." Almost as if speaking in their head, they both looked at the Clergyman who had already lost interest. When Redwald looked back, Eadwyn was already mounted on the larger of the two horses. Which was sweet of her to take the taller one, but how was he ever to get on such a gigantic beast? "Lady," Redwald started to ask. "Eadwyn" she said simply. For some reason it didn't feel right to just call her by her birth name, "Lady Eadwyn, is there perhaps a trick to getting up?" Eadwyn hopped down from her horse and walked towards Redwald, stood next to him and cupped her hands about knee height. "Lady! what are you doing?" Redwald whispered. Eadwyn furrowed her brow and was quiet a moment, "I'm going to help you up onto the horse." Redwald taking a few steps back in amazement that she could speak more then a word at a time. Eadwyn stood to her full 5 foot 5 inch height with a look of slight annoyance. "Are ye getting on the bloody horse Squire or are we to leave ye behind." The Clergyman man said in annoyance. Eadwyn leaned over and cupped her hands once more and looked at Redwald. Finally Redwald stepped back over, stuck his foot in her hand and felt himself glide up onto the horse with ease. When he finally got over the shock of it being so quick, Eadwyn was already mounted again. One day, he would master getting up on his own. With a nod of his head he went to grab the reins and tell the giant beast to walk and all thought came to a screeching halt when he remembered, there are no reins!
Thankfully the beast must have been the follow horse and quickly ignored Redwald's inadequate knowledge of riding without saddle or bridle and just followed behind Eadwyn. Belric and Prince seemed back to their old selves of prancing along in the lead. Pekupstix was not happy whatsoever with his obnoxious donkey of a companion. They were all but on edge when they heard some very angry voices not too far ahead shouting. About a quarter of a mile up the road from them they saw first a broken cart in the middle of the road. The next they saw three large men standing near it while two of them were shouting back and forth. As they came closer, Redwald noticed they seemed a very rugged sort of men. Not the kind you would want to run across in a dark alley at night. Although he supposed he really would rather not come across them in broad daylight either, though it could not be helped now. Upon seeing the group approaching them they quickly stopped shouting and started towards them. Not bothered by them or their height at all, Belric continued on while the rest hung back. Belric asked them who they were and where they were headed. Not feeling obliged to answer either, they asked if they could perhaps use some help to fix the wheel. While the two who were shouting were talking to Belric, the biggest men of the three had glanced back at the rest of the group. Redwald furrowed his brow when the big man stood up to his full height. Without looking at his companions he hit one of them in the shoulder. They quickly stopped talking and looked from the big man to where Redwald, Eadwyn and the Clergyman were. As if they weren't even talking to Belric in the first place. All three men started towards them with a look to kill. All Redwald could think while these scary men came towards them, "I don't remember meeting or doing anything make these men mad. Or are they not after me and are looking at...?" Realization dawned on Redwald's face.
His mind going at the speed of lightening, Redwald tried to think of a way to stop these men. Looking back at Eadwyn, he realized that in all her simple mindedness, she couldn't hide the shock and fear creeping into her eyes. By the time he looked back to see the progress of men, the biggest of the three was already in front of him and shoving him out of the way as if he were a stick in his path. In a matter of three strides this giant was already next to Eadwyn's horse. In one move sweeping her off the horse and crashing her onto the ground. Redwald could hear the wind being knocked out of her lungs the moment she hit the ground. Scrambling to his feet in effort to try to do something, anything to help her, was immediately halted in mid-thought. By the time Redwald had gotten to his feet, one of the other men already had his arm twisted behind his back. Feeling a the man lean closer and whisper, "Thinking of doing something stupid?". Watching as the giant grabbed Eadwyn by the front of her shirt and lift her off the ground, "Where is it?!" the giant gruffed out. Redwald couldn't help but think this whole scene seemed completely out of place. "Where was Belric?", "Why am I being held back when obviously the giant could take me down with one finger?", "What could 'Simple minded Eadwyn' possibly have taken?", "Why can't I feel my arm?". All these thoughts raced through Redwalds head so fast he barely caught that he didn't see the Clergyman anywhere. Frowning, he sharply glanced behind him and noticed that Belric was no longer in sight either. When he looked back to Eadwyn and the giant, they were no longer there. Instead, Redwald was now standing at the edge of a cliff. Feeling a slight shove, he felt himself topple over the edge of the cliff and all he could think was, "Who is calling my name?".
"Redwald." A slight shove to the back, "Redwald". Startled awake, Redwald looked up into the greenest eyes he'd ever seen. "What?" Blurry eyed Redwald mumbled. Seeing something he never thought he'd see, Eadwyn frowned then quickly went blank again. Getting to her feet, she moved back to her own sleeping place and stared into the dimming fire. Redwald decided it wasn't worth thinking too much over and fell back to sleep. The next morning proved to be an interesting turn of events. Redwald was finding that he was a bit groggy on the day before and couldn't figure out why. Everyone seemed to be going about as usual, as if nothing was out of place. Figuring it would just be easiest if he kept quite, thinking someone would eventually bring the topic up. As they got back onto the road again, Redwald quickly found he couldn't have been more wrong. Everyone was extremely quite and seemed to be in their own heads that day. "Maybe they're just taking after Eadwyn." Thought to himself. He glanced over at Clergyman, "Somehow I doubt that though." He quickly retracted.
Even in all the silence, the quest seemed to going along quite well that day. They were back to the second original quest and had already questioned several passer byers. Even without having come any closer to finding the missing girl, Redwald was in good spirits. He just wished that the rest of his companions shared his good mood. The Clergyman had gone to ride next to Belric, leaving Eadwyn to ride next to Redwald. His brows furrowed in desperation of trying not to look at her. Finally he let out a huge sigh, not knowing he was holding it in. He felt eyes on him and glanced over towards Eadwyn, finding her looking at him. Unable to help himself he blurted out, "What happened yesterday?". Not expecting her response, Redwald watched as she leaned back and frowned much like she had the night before. Looking forward, she didn't answer him. After about a five mintues, Redwald gave up hope of getting an answer from her. "You really don't remember?" She asked all the sudden, still looking forward. Redwald shook his head, then realized she wasn't looking at him and said, "No." He could tell she was debating whether she wanted to tell him. Although he didn't know if it was because of what happened or because she would have to speak more then a sentence. She must have finally gave in when she said, "When the men recognized me and the clergyman, they started to come over. It seemed as if the earth stalled and everyone started to go slow from then. Before they could get close enough to us, you shouted that you wouldn't let them take us. Which made them all stop in their tracks and finally see you. You proceeded to challenge a one to one fight and whoever won would be able to walk away with me and the Clergyman. You were pitted against Arald..." Eadwyn paused to look at Redwald, "He was the biggest of the men." Continuing on with her story, "It didn't take but one blow..." Eadwyn paused again but for another reason. "Needless to say, you were knocked out. Which makes sense why you can't remember anything." Redwald waited for her to go on with the story until he realized she had finished. "Thats it?" He asked in disbelief. Eadwyn gave quick nod, not going back to talking. Figuring she must have talked more then she had in her entire life, Redwald let the subject go and decided to just ask Belric sometime.
There was something that had been bothering Redwald all day. He had noticed it last night but thought it was just a trick of the light. There was a blood stain on the neck line of Eadwyn's shirt, but he didn't know if it was hers or someone else's. "Maybe it's mine." Redwald thought, but quickly thought against it since he didn't have anything but a big bump on his head. "So thats the reason for the the splitting headache this morning." Redwald felt his pony go rigged under him and stop abruptly at a rustling in the brush next to the trail. Afraid it might be a mountain lion or a bear, Redwald waited in anticipation. All the sudden a deer shot out of the brush, startling the riders and their mounts. Always calm, Eadwyn didn't waste a moment in chasing the deer. It wasn't long before she returned with the deer in tow. Looking at the rest of her companions she simply said. "Dinner." Belric gave out a hearty laugh, "My dear girl, that could feed a small army." Eadwyn only replied, "It will." Belric stopped his laughter and just gave her a confused look before she continued. "There is town up ahead, I'm sure they will gladly take us in for the night with this food." Redwald, Belric and Clergyman all just stared at her.
They all would come to appreciate Eadwyn's quick thinking when they made it into town. As they were coming into the outskirts of the town there was not a soul in sight. There was lights on inside, but no noise whatsoever wafted out of the house. It was a type of quiet that you were afraid to break on the thought that something paranormal might happen and you'd be struck down from uttering even a whisper. When they came into town it was much the same, there was no noise of any kind. "How be it such a town is desolate?" Clergyman dared to break the eerie silence. Everyone looked at Clergyman subconsciously waiting for something abnormal to happen to him. All at once they breathed a sigh of relief and yet not when he was still all in one piece. "Perhaps they are all in hid..." just as Belric was about to finish was he was saying there was a deafening sound of a drum beating. The horses all spooked as their riders tried to control them. Redwald and Clergyman came tumbling off their mounts while Belric and Eadwyn deftly handled and soothed their mounts down. By the time Redwald and Clergyman could get to their feet the beating of the drum had stopped. "What in the bloody hazes..." Belric started to yell only to be cut off yet again when windows and doors started to crack open. A door off to their left opened all the way and a large, burly mountain man came out to stand. "Who dares to trespass into our town?" The man growled in primitive sort of way. Belric sat a little straighter on Prince and lifted his chin slightly into the air and replied, "I am a knight of the King's Court, I am known as Belric Ni.." The Man cut him off, "I don't give a wit's end where ye be from or what ye be called, just leave my town." Eadwyn glanced at Belric and saw he was fighting back his frustration. "My kind sire, you asked who was trespassing and I was merely answering your question." Belric's body gave its own sigh of relief to finally be able to finish a full sentence, while Prince matched his every emotion. Eadwyn always found it a wonder how a horse and rider could to so in tune. "I said to leave my town and I bloody well mean it." Barked the Man at Belric. Seeing that Belric was about to lose his temper, Eadwyn nudged her horse up a ways so that she could be seen by the man better. "Sire, we bring food in hopes of lodging for the night. Might you have compassion on these weary travelers and let us stay the night?" Eadwyn spoke as if speaking to a cornered wild animal. All at once the man's demeanor changed from anger and fear to a sort of wonder and hope before furrowing his brow again. "Food, ye say? How much?" Eadwyn gave a slight and short triumphant smile before replying, "A full deer." and with her answer, they were welcomed into town.
Seated at the main table in the meeting hall, Eadwyn was seated at the Burly Mountain Man right, who's name they later found out was Tulric. Seated next to Eadwyn was Belric and Clergyman, while Redwald stood behind Belric, as was his place. The hall was filled with noise as everyone talked amongst themselves, which the companions found unusual compared to their first impression of the town. Tulric raised his glass and immediately everyone stopped talking and looked to him. "I want to praise the Almighty for providing the food here tonight through these travelers." Looking to them he nodded and continued, "We are a suspicious lot and wary of strangers. Before the war between the great kingdoms, we had trade with Isendale as well as great feasts and rejoicing. Those days are long past and have not lit this hall in many decades. We get to feel a small part of that tonight, and to that I am thankful to you friends." With that, Tulric drank from his glass and the assembly followed suit. Belric feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the talk of the war of the kingdoms, shifted in his seat. Eadwyn noticed how Belric tensed when the talk of war was brought up and became slightly curious. Glancing over at him, she wondered if it was a warriors eagerness for battle that made him tense or a knowledge of what was not widely known about the war. Redwald had not noticed Belric become uneasy, but did catch Eadwyn glance and wondered why she looked at him. Before he could think further, Clergyman opened his mouth, "What amazing grape concentrate, I must say I've never tasted anything of the like." He said while staring at his glass then he gave a short giggle. All of his companions eyes grew wide for a brief moment and to their shock, they heard Eadwyn burst into a fit of laughing which made the whole assembly go quiet in amazement. Eadwyn's laughter had the lightness of a bird song in spring and the warmth of a summer sun. She eventually gained control and looked at Clergyman, who was staring at her with a peculiar look, "Tis wine." She said simply, with that the whole assembly burst into laughter.
With the kindness of their host they were given a place to sleep in the towns great lodge. Unable to find sleep Eadwyn slipped out of her bed and found herself downstairs at the main hall. To her surprise there was a fire still going and someone sitting in a chair by it. She thought about turning around and going back upstairs, but curiosity took over and went to sit next to Belric. He neither flinched at her presence nor turned to look at her when she sat. They sat in silence, both staring at the fire for a long while. The crackling of the fire was soothing which made Eadwyn think of home. "They say.." Eadwyn tensed slightly with the break in silence. "..'War is sacrifices being made for the better of a kingdom.' Who is man to say you are right or wrong?" Eadwyn waited quietly for him to continue, thinking him asking a rhetorical question. After a second Belric glanced over at her and raised his brows, "Who are we to have that right?" Anger and sadness ran across his face, Eadwyn gave a bit before she answered. "Faulty." she said simply, Belric let out a sigh and looked back at the fire. He was looking for a complex and understandable answer that would ease his mind. "'You will know them by their fruits.'" Eadwyn said quietly. "We can say if something is right or wrong based on their fruits." Belric looked back at Eadwyn with a thoughtful look. "What if I am fighting for something wrong?" He asked. Eadwyn just looked at him without saying a word. "You think me a fool and simple minded." Belric stated. Eadwyn shook her head, "You seek truth when most would say there is none to find. It is worthy of praise." She stood and put her hand of Belric's shoulder, "Sleep, it will not elude you now." With that she went and found sleep herself.
As the sun rose, it shown through Redwald's window pane and fell on his face, blinding him awake. He opened his eyes to find the world upside down. Panic gripped his stomach and in his panic he fell from his bed and landed on the floor with a resounding thud. Groaning and holding his head, Belric found him as such. Frowning at the site of his Squire so disheveled he shook his head. "We are to leave, ready Prince." With that said he was out the door with the very familiar sound of a, thud. Shaking his head he dressed and headed to the stables to ready Prince and Pekupstix. Entering the door he came to find Eadwyn grooming her own mount. Smiling when she glanced over, "Morning M'lady." he said. "Tis Eadwyn, not M'lady." she threw back but became preoccupied with something else. Redwald furrowed his brow, "What is it M'.." unable to finish, for he couldn't find it in him to say Eadwyn. Wondering why she was staring at him he went ahead and started taking care of grooming Prince. Clergyman found his way to the stable not long after Redwald started grooming his own pony. Glancing up when Clergyman entered the Stable, he noticed he was going to say something to him and immediately stopped and stared at him. Wondering why everyone seemed to be staring at him he frowned at Clergyman and asked "Yes?". Shaking his head, Clergyman went back out of the Stable. Redwald couldn't help but think he heard the faint sound of laughter from outside, but quickly pushed it aside. The horses were tacked and ready to be on the road again, began prancing beside Redwald and Eadwyn. The town had come to see them off and they all said their goodbyes. Tulric paused at Eadwyn and took her hand and spoke softly to her alone. Redwald couldn't help but wonder what was he telling her, when he saw a brief blush cross her face. stepping back he moved toward Redwald as if to say 'goodbye' and stopped. He frowned at Redwald before giving the deepest of laughs, "My dear boy, has no one told you that you look as if lightning struck you?" With that he clapped Redwald on the shoulder and moved on to shake Belric's hand. All four companions mounted their horses and set out yet again on their quest. Quickly looking back and waving, Eadwyn couldn't help but feel like she would see that town again. Belric glancing over at Redwald, found him subtly trying to smooth his hair down. "It's a losing battle Squire, don't fret, its somehow suits you." He said in a light tone. "I agree with Belric." said Eadwyn. Startled, Redwald blushed not knowing that Eadwyn was so close to hear. "Is that a blush I see, Squire?" Belric teased with a smirk.
Easing back into their quest, everyone seemed more refreshed. It could have a lot to do with having been able to sleep on feather beds the night before. Oh, how they would all miss those feather beds come the next morning, but for the moment they all enjoyed the feeling of being renewed. Come to think of it, they all were going to miss not having to prepare a meal, and have sweet wine. Now that they all got to thinking about it, they were starting to wonder how long this quest was going to take. Eadwyn had come to ride next Belric and glanced over at him. She had forgotten that he had put his own quest on hold to find a maiden. When she came to think of it, she had never asked anymore about his second quest. "Knight?" Eadwyn spoke loud enough so only Belric could hear. Belric glanced over at her in question. She went ahead, "Who exactly are we trying to find?" She asked. Belric furrowed his brow for a moment, as if it was a silly question to ask. "Why a maiden, of course." He answered her 'simple' question. "Yes I know that, I meant do you know her name, he age or what she looks like?" She asked, trying to leave out the frustrated edge to it. Belric face went blank, as if Eadwyn had just sent lightening out of heaven and struck him with it. Unknowingly puling back on the reins, he stopped Prince, therefore stopping them all. Redwald trotted up and looked between Belric and Eadwyn. "What? Whats happened? Is something the matter?" Asked a worried Redwald. Eadwyn looked at Redwald, "Do you know who this maiden is that we are searching for?". Redwald looked at Belric with a confused look and then back to Eadwyn. "No.." He said hesitantly, "I never thought to ask." Belric seeming to come out of his daze, kicked Prince and turned in the direction they just came from. Eadwyn, knowing exactly what Belric was doing, followed him quickly. "Knight, You can't go all the way back. You have already lost time on your orginal quest." Said Eadwyn. Without turning Belric answered, "I promised the woman to find her daughter, I must do so." Eadwyn huffed out a sigh and rolled her eyes, "You bull headed Knight, listen to my words." Eadwyn shouted at Belric. At her shout Belric immediately stopped and turned to her in amazement. With shock on his face he asked dumbfounded, "What did you just say?" Eadwyn had the courtesy to give a brief look of guilt, but went on, "You have two very important quest and less then a fortnight to complete them. There is no use turning back now. We can simply try and find out what we can as we press on. We can ask peddlers and such if they know of a girl being taken." Eadwyn finished. Belric, still looking back at her, moved prince around and came back towards the rest of them. "Forgive me Lady, I had not thought these things all the way through. You make a good suggestion and I will heed it." With that Belric kicked Prince back the way they were originally heading. Eadwyn sighed and pushed on behind him this time, falling into stride with Clergyman. "I dare say, I am traveling with a bunch of nimwits." Clergyman man said with softly to himself. Eadwyn couldn't help but snicker to herself.
By the time they had made it into the next town, they were all due for some rest. When they all finally dismounted from their horses. They looked like they were going to be permanently stuck in that position. Noticing that the town seemed to be abuzz with people everywhere. Eadwyn started to look around. It was a rather large town and there seemed to be a fair going on. There were decorations everywhere and kids running around the street in colorful clothing. Eadwyn rather thought it would make a nice painting, if only she an artist and this town her canvas. As much as Redwald would have loved to have stayed close to Eadwyn, he knew it might make him a little too obvious. Besides the fact that he was suppose to be staying with Belric, since he was his squire. Redwald watched as Eadwyn made her way further and further into the throng of the crowd and eventually disappeared from site altogether. "What do you suppose they're feasting?" Belric asked. Although Redwald knew he wasn't really looking for an answer from him, he answered anyway. "Perhaps its someones wedding?" Belric looked back at Redwald with a look that just about said, 'who asked you?'. Redwald sighed and went back to his normal position, following in silence.
As they each made their way through the crowd, they saw jugglers,musicians and different kinds of acts. They all realized it was a moving show of the talented arts. Eadwyn was enjoying the show so intently that she didn't realize she was being watched. Every time she moved to get a better view, so did her follower. She realized it was hopeless trying to get a view from where she was, the irritating life of shorter people. She looked up and noticed there was a ledge up near the wall and decided that would be a great view. She looked around for Belric and the rest of them, to let them know where she was going, but figured they'd be alright with missing her for a little while. Had she known she was being followed, she might have been more careful in not going to a non-crowded area. Pushing her way through the crowd, she finally made it to the other side. With a deep breath from being shoved around by so many people, she climbed the stairs.
Redwald, following behind Belric, was getting antsy not being able to find Eadwyn in the crowd. Where in the blazes did the girl go?, he silently thought to himself. His eyes scanned over what he could see, but he came back with nothing. Belric seemed too enthralled with the acts to notice they were missing a person. Redwald looked behind him and noticed that Clergyman had taken his seat over by a near by bench. Frowning to himself, Of all times to be a Squire, if he was free to do what he wished he would already have found Eadwyn by now. A shout of laughter came out of Belric, apparently finding the show quite amusing. Redwald wished he had the luxury of being entertained at the moment, but he had a bigger problem. He needed to find Eadwyn, he just knew she would end up in some kind of danger.
Eadwyn, perched atop her new post, was definitely enjoying the show better with her unobstructed view. Had she been paying attention she might have noticed the light footsteps that had been following her. Feet that were trained to be silent in their approach. Eadwyn let out a hearty laugh, her crystal clear laughter of bells rang off the wall. A hand slowly reach out and hovered above her shoulder in anticipation. Laughing again, Eadwyn's head came slightly back and bumped into the outstretched hand. She released a gasp and whirled her head around to see her assailant. What she saw surprised her more then scared her. She looked into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. She was staring at a young man of probably 18, with a fresh face and a handsome jaw. His voice was the sound of gentle water moving over pebbles when he spoke, "Forgive me, M'lady. I didna mean ta startle ya." Eadwyn, not one for many words as was, was at a comlete loss of words.
Belric, Redwald and Clergyman were now sitting in a small pub. The show was taking a short break while they set up for the next acts. Belric was still reeling with excitement from the first show, jabbering on about how amazing the talent was. Redwald couldn't care less how amazing it was at the moment. "What do you keep staring at?", Belric gave a pointed look at Redwald. Redwald realized he'd been staring at the door since they'd sat down. Redwald glanced back at Belric, "Doesn't it bother you that we haven't seen Eadwyn since we got here?". Belric shrugged, "She's old enough to make her decisions boy, what makes you her guardian?". Redwald frowned, Nothing, he thought to himself. He knew he had no right or claim to her to worry about where she went or what she did. This was a big town though, with people none of them knew. What if... What if...Oh blast it! Thinking too much was doing him no good. "Do you think they have any of that delicious grape juice here?" Clergyman pondered out loud. Belric just looked over at him and raised his brow. "My dear man, I thought you to be a man of self-control." Clergyman huffed in his own way and went back to eating his food. Belric just shook his head and laughed. Out of nowhere, Redwald jumped out of his seat and unsettled the Clergyman's food. In a way to try and catch the porridge before it fell all over himself, Clergyman only succeeded in making a bigger mess. A groan came out, both Clergyman and Belric, Clergyman for having all his food on him and Belric for pitying the poor man. "Redwald, its called grace, not acting as if you were raised in a stable." Relief washed over Redwald when he saw Eadwyn come in the pub, that was until he saw she had a puppy following her.
Eadwyn was smiling from ear to ear, "Belric! Redwald and Clergyman, I want you to meet Kletes." Eadwyn introduced once she got to their table. Belric shook the young mans hand, Clergyman was still fussing over his spilled food and Redwald was seeing to much red to shake the boys hand. "Kletes is with the Traveling Talent of Arts Show. He is an acrobat." Eadwyn had evidently found her voice again. Kletes gave a humble look, "Is'not much really." Redwald couldn't help his frustration and slight pouting over this new found puppy. Eadwyn had apparently fallen for the puppy dog act and immediately took him in, but Redwald didn't like it, not one bit.
(To be continued...)