Wraithbane---Chapter Two

Fiction By Laura Elizabeth // 4/1/2011

I'm sorry I didn't post sooner. I've had quite a bit going on, so I wasn't able to write as much as I wanted to. Not only that, but I'm a bit of a procrastinator... Anyways, I've also changed a few things in the first chapter, because I realized there were a few inconsistencies. I hope ya'll enjoy this chapter, and hopefully the next will be out sooner than this one was :) If anyone has suggestions, criticism, or whatever, please tell me. Anything to improve! 

 

Chapter Two

Terram's Assignment

 

 

"Now," said the Gasper. "Let's have your reports, boys. Adder?"

"There has been a desertion," he said. "Cabris order."

"Who?"

"A man named Arren," said Adder. "He has been going between orders, feigning to be new to the Society, and learning everything, then leaving. There is a fear that he will betray the Society's existence."

The Gasper stroked his beard thoughtfully.

"D' you have a description of him?"

"Only that he is middle-aged. He wears a wig at times."

There was a quiet murmur of talk between the rest of the members, and then Gaddis spoke up.

"Why hasn't the Society already caught him? How is he going between orders so easily?"

"I do not know," said Adder. "But the last piece of news I have is this."

He drew out a letter from his coat and opened it.

"This was addressed to me, from Adder of the Aradis order. If you would like to read it aloud, sir."

He handed it to the Gasper, who cleared his throat and began.

"I write to inform you that one Arren, a treacherous man who has lately been joining different orders of the Society to learn the information that they have, has now left Aradis. We only learned that it was Arren just before he deserted, and hunted him for quite some time. He is very slippery, and we advise the utmost caution on your order’s part. It would be wise if you were to send one of your members to the council held next month at Lea Brin, where the course of action will be determined. In the meantime, give this letter to the Gasper of your order. Signed,

Adder, Aradis order.”

“Well, sir,” said Farrel. “What do you say? Who will you send, or will you go yourself?”

“The rules state that, unless called on official business by the high commander, a Gasper may not leave his province. I’ll have to send someone else.”

He looked around at the silent company, then said,

“Next, we’ll hear Gaddis. Do you have anything?”

“No, sir. Everything is well where I work.”

“Then, Gildan?”

“Two ambassadors from Arvindia came to the palace yesterday. Arvindia is on the verge of war with Lecartin, and apparently they desire aid of some kind from our king.”

“What kind of aid?” asked the Gasper.

“I have no idea," said Gildan. "But I intend to find out.”

“This is rather serious,” said Farrel. “If Lecartin finds out we are helping their enemies, they might declare war on us, too.”

“Yes. That’ll need to be brought up at the council. In the meantime, there’s nothing our small order can do. Is that all?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then, Farrel,” said the Gasper.

“My wife is expecting a baby soon, so I will need to be given an absence writ for three weeks, if that’s not too much."

"Very well. We will do that as soon as possible."

“Terram, you’re the last. Do you have some information, or news?”

“I do. I know what the ambassadors came about.”

“Well, tell us!”

“My... I mean, his Majesty has lent them fifteen ships to help them in the war against Lecartin.”

“Just fifteen ships?" said the Gasper. "No men, or weapons?”

“No," said Terram. "All they wanted was ships.”

“Well then, Gildan, it seems as though Terram has beaten you to the hunt.”

Gildan scowled slightly, and muttered something about Terram’s having an advantage over him.

“So,” said the Gasper. “Now that everyone has spoken their pieces, I’ll speak mine. As the council is next month, on the fifth, I’ll need to choose one of you to go. I would’ve chosen Farrel, most likely, but he will have to be absent. So, I think I’ll send Terram. What do you say, boy?”

Terram’s eyes lit up.

“I would love to go, sir!”

“Then here’s your orders. You’re to tell everything you know that has been told in all our meetings. Especially this about the Arvindian ambassadors. You’ll need to be gone for five days at the most. Remember to always keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth closed unless... until it is time for the council. You’ll be given your passes and papers the day before you leave. Are there any questions?”

He looked at each one in turn, and each shook his head.

“Then, let’s us go and eat breakfast, then I’ll write up Farrel's absence writ, and we’ll leave.”

 

After lunch, Terram went up to the west wing on the third floor of the palace, where the royal family's living quarters were, and knocked on the king's study door.

"Enter," King Eragim called, and Terram pushed the door open.

A fire was burning low on the hearth, it's light flickering on the paintings which were hung around the room. A rich, thick rug covered the floor. It had been imported from Belvia, and it's exotic weave always fascinated Terram. He stopped for a few seconds to examine it. Floral designs in subtle hues of blue, red, green and yellow were scattered about, mingled with white and black unicorns and flying horses. His father looked up and said,

"Yes, Terram?"

"I was wondering if I could go to Lea Brin next month, and be there for about a week."

"Why?"

"Oh, just, to go places."

"I do not see why not. Drop in on Lord Harvesh if you can, and give him my greetings."

He bent his head over his desk again, and Terram knew the conversation was over. He also knew that the king would probably not even remember having it.

 

Two weeks passed, fairly quickly. Terram was busy keeping an eye out for the traitor, Arren, but there was little else to do. The last week before he left seemed to drag by as though time's wheels were mired in the mud. But at last, there was only a day left. He met with the Gasper, who took him to a room he had never been in before.

"Here y' are, Terram. These here are your passes. Here's a map showing where the headquarters of the orders are that you'll be passing through." He pointed to a spot on the map. "Here's Lea Brin. The council is held here."

"In the middle of the city?"

"Aye. No one but members know what goes on there. You'll be safe. Your password is Wraithbane. If you have to knock, tap three times, pause for five seconds, then tap two more times. Here are your papers to present to the head Gasper. Enjoy yourself."

Terram shook the Gasper's hand heartily and left, feeling much older. He was going to Lea Brin, by himself, to attend the annual Wraithbane council. What could be more exciting?

The next day he left on Secret. He did not want to take any servants with him who might somehow follow him to the council.

The early morning sun shone on his back as he rode, and birds chirped and twittered. Terram whistled at them and sang in a low tone.

It was roughly two days on horseback to Lea Brin, a large city which was the trading center of the country. Terram did not remember much about it; he had been there when he was nine years old, but had only been to Lord Harvesh's castle. He could vaguely recall high spires and tall buildings, as well as a lot of traffic.

 

The next day, Terram began to see signs that he was nearing the city. Wagons full of everything from apples to plowshares rolled by quite recklessly from side lanes and small roads. Men on horseback herded large flocks of sheep down the highway, slowing Terram down. Noblemen and women in carriages occasionally went past him. The nearer he got to the city, the more noise he heard. Shouting, hooves clipping along on the stone streets, the rumbling of wheels, the sounds of many different animals, all mingling together into a confusing cacophony. Terram took his map out. He was entering Lea Brin on the east. The building where the council was held was on a long, narrow street off of the main road.

An hour later, Terram reined in his horse and looked around him. Buildings rose around him, their spires striking the sky. Many of them were gilded with silver and shone brightly in the midday sun. Others were full of hundreds of tiny windows, from top to bottom. He had gone through the market, filled with vendors on both sides of the road, calling out their wares, pulling travelers by the sleeve and asking,

"Would you like a fresh chicken, just in from the farm?"

"Turnips! Do you need turnips and onions?"

"Hello there! Surely you need a new plow!"

No one had pulled on him. Many of the shopkeepers had recognized him and doffed their caps.

Now Terram was in front of a tall, ornately designed cylindrical building. There were very few windows in it, and only one set of steps led up to a small door. There was a stable to his left, and he dismounted and led Secret to it. As he opened the door, a man stepped in front of him.

"What's your business?" he asked.

"Wraithbane," Terram replied.

"Ahhhh. Well, then, let me see your horse. Do you have a pass?"

"Yes. Right here."

Terram pulled it out, and the man looked it over.

"Good. Here you go." He handed it back to the prince, who turned around. He went to the door and tried the handle, but found it locked as he had thought it would be. He gave the secret knock, and a few seconds later it was opened, revealing a man with a neatly trimmed gray beard.

"Password?"

"Wraithbane."

"Come inside."

Terram found himself in a small room. At least ten doors led off from it. Hundreds of coats, cloaks, hats and hoods were hung on hooks all along the walls.

"Surprised?" asked the doorkeeper.

"A bit," said Terram, his eyes wide. "I knew there would be a large amount of people here, but it looks like more than I thought."

"I'll have to see your pass."

"Oh, of course. Here."

"Say. You look like someone I've seen before. This says your name is Terram. You wouldn't happen to be the king's son, would you?"

Terram laughed.

"That's me."

"No wonder you got to come. How long have you been in the Society?"

"Not quite a year."

"Favoritism going on," the man mumbled. "I wasn't sent to Lea Brin for the council until I had been in the Society for three years."

"Someone had to go. I was not the first choice. Anyways, it is none of your business."

"Oh, no, of course not. You'll go through that door there, and up the narrow stairway. There are three doors at the top. Knock on the door to the right."

"Thank you."

Terram went through the door and counted fifteen staircases. He took the narrowest one. It was long and winding, passing underneath and over several of the others. He went up and up, until he passed a window. He looked out and could see a large part of the city through it.

After another minute or so he reached the top and knocked on the door to the right. Three taps, pause five seconds, then two taps. He could hear the sound of a large crowd inside. The door opened, and he gasped at what he saw.

Comments

Excellent chapter! The only

Excellent chapter! The only bit of criticism I can think of is that, during the report at his regular Society meeting, the dialog gets a bit confusing because I'm not sure who's talking. You might want to put a "he said" or action tag to each bit of dialog so readers aren't confused. Can't wait for the next chapter!

Heather | Sat, 04/02/2011

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

And he saw... what? :) Keep

And he saw... what? :) Keep up the good work!

Anna | Tue, 04/12/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief