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Tasha Harrington-Howard

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Ongoing Words

Chapter Four; The Kings Camp

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Lord Pwyll, is the most insufferable man I have ever met, yet again he calls me from my work, work he asked me to do, just to question our methods. He questions if we can produce the results we promised. I assured him yet again that we are making good progress. But no true breakthrough comes about without set-backs. Every process in life is trial and error, and given the pathetically little information he could give us on the actual process means we have to first find a starting point for ourselves. For people who dedicate themselves to wiping this threat from our lands they are woefully unprepared! How they haven’t ended themselves already amazes me to no end! But they have set us a task, a challenge, and the brotherhood could never turn down such a challenge as this! Finally something actually worth our time, worth our interest, and worthy of our skills! I have already put too many hours of work into this, too many hours backwards and forwarding with Blaug and Alveye to stop now! If we are truly to find an answer I must push deeper! 

Extract from the journals of Lord Viggo Vider, Lord High Mage of the Brotherhood of Magi, Overseer of Magical research.

The Kings camp was stationed just within the Barquil region border not that far from the edge of the Moaning forest, and an offshoot from the Crestback Mountains. Mylea had heard of what a armies camp entailed but she was not prepared for the size of the Kings Camp. 

When they broke from the treeline at last around midday, the day after their encounter with the Corrupted, Mylea had to stop and gasp in amazement. Just off in the middle distance of to the side of the main road, was what she could only describe as a mini city of tents. Even from here she could see that people were bustling about hurrying here and there, and on the wind there was the smell of cooking fires. Large banners carrying the Kings crest flapped in the wind over many of the tents and what Mylea assumed was the camps main entrance. The whole camp was enclosed in a wall of tents all facing inward towards the main camp. Mylea had to admit she was impressed. The description her father and brothers had given her had not done it any justice. She was surprised however as they drew closer that they could hear the sound of women's voices and, to Mylea’s horrified surprise, babies. Mylea instantly looked to Lashur answers and he looked glum, but unsurprised, yet never-the-less answered her unspoken questions. 

“When armies this large settle anywhere, they draw... business” He said gently. 

“A marching army is a hungry army. They need food, fresh clothing, fresh armour, or armour repairs. Some people make a living travelling with armies, and make an even better one during a war. This is the ugly truth that never gets talked about once a battle is won and all that is ever sung about is the glory and the victory” He said a sorrowful tone in his voice. 

“You learn to live with it as a soldier, and as a Watcher as there will be times when you have to rely on the services those people provide and it may mean the difference between life and death” 

Mylea swallowed back many of the objections that had just raised themselves. She had yet to experience actually living in a camp, so she had no place to judge. Maybe after staying here for a while she might understand better and have a better feeling about it. Right now however it just made her feel uneasy. 

As they drew closer Lashur said quietly. “When we get to the guard post let me speak first, we don’t know how far Earl Heires treachery had spread and I don’t want to lose you having gotten so far” 

Mylea quietly stared ahead but nodded in agreement. But Lashur’s concerns turned out to be unnecessary, as they came within sight of the guard post a small group of men came out to meet them. At the head of the group was a young man already dressed in heavy golden armour. Mylea instantly recognized the man as King Ealric. 

Mylea had to admit he gave off an impressive and imposing air, she might have been convinced of it, had he not had such a boyish grin on his face as he rushed forward to meet them. 

“Lashur!” he called in a booming voice as he came to a stop in front of them. 

“Your Majesty” Lashur said a little surprised, as the King quickly and heartily shook his hand. 

“I bet you were not expecting me to come and welcome you personally, I must say however I was starting to worry that something had happened, I was ready to send out a rescue party for you” Ealric smiled broadly and with enthusiasm, the delight he felt at seeing the Watcher was clear. Mylea watched this scene, feeling her hopes for the results of this Uprising falter slightly. The King just seemed too sure of himself for her liking. Lashur gave an apologetic smile. 

“I apologise to your Majesty for my lateness, however events delayed us” Lashur said his voice although steady was filled with sorrow. Mylea felt her heart skip as he mentioned it and her throat tighten a little so that she had to swallow hard to push the feeling away. Ealric’s eyes instantly moved to Mylea at the word ‘us’ he looked surprised at seeing her but greeted her with the same broad smile he had Lashur. 

“My lady Mylea, I did not expect to see you here of all places, are you here on behalf of your father? Has he and Earl Heires been delayed further? I understand from your brothers that there had been complications, and that your father was to wait for Earl Heires and his men” 

Mylea listened to all this with great pain, her mouth was dry as she tried to find the right words. Lashur opened his mouth to speak but Mylea raised a hand to stop him. If any one was to explain it would have to be her. It was the least she could do. Ealric watched this exchange confused, frowning a little, finally reading the sad grief stricken looks on her faces. But he stayed silently letting Mylea take her time to say her piece. 

“I am here on behalf of my father your majesty, but not for the reasons you suppose” Mylea said, straightening herself up, playing the part of the lady one last time. 

“I am sorry your majesty, but my father will not be joining you, because my father is no longer with us” Mylea fought to keep her voice as steady and as calm as she possibly could. 

Ealric looked horrified and dismayed. “No longer with us, why? What has happened? Please my lady tell me?” He said gently, taking her hands and giving them an encouraging and comforting squeeze. Mylea felt her breath catch, not having expected such a heartfelt response from the King himself. She knew her father had been close to him but she had always believed him to just see her father as another noble. But the look of pain he gave her now, was that of a worried and grieving friend. This almost broke Mylea’s resolve but she powered forward. 

“Your Majesty, Earl Heires has proven himself a traitor, on the night my brothers and my fathers men set out to join you, Earls Heires men attacked Gaemon laying siege to the city and castle. My mother and Father, my younger siblings and my sister - in - law and nephew were all murdered in the attack” Mylea’s voice started to crack as she said these last words. Despite having been able to process it all on the journey here, now actually telling someone brought back all that pain of that night in full tremendous force. Ealric’s expression turned from sorrow and grief, to surprised horror to almost uncontained fury and disgust. 

“It sickens and saddens me to hear this. Your father was a good and loyal man, and a close and dear friend. Your mother was a kind, caring and understanding woman who always considered others before herself. She helped me muddle through a few of my first balls” He gave Mylea a look of sympathy and pain. 

“I am so sorry for your loss my lady” He said gently. Holding her hands to him, and gently squeezing them said; 

“I promise you, The Earl will pay for what he has done. Once this battle is won, I will turn my army towards Gaemon and restore what is rightfully yours! I will see to it personally. But first we must deal with the battle at hand or there may be nothing to restore” 

Mylea gave a weak thankful smile, and nodding in understanding she gave a small curty. 

“Your majesty is too kind, and generous. My father would be greatly honoured by the distinction” 

“It is the least I can do for such a loyal man and friend” Ealric said gently. Lifting her hands to his lips and gently laid a kiss on the back of each hand. 

“Now, I am sure you are eager to see your brothers, Faelen should be in the family's tent, Barauil should be just returning from a scouting party” He turned to Lashur. 

“I hope it is not too much to ask Lashur to see Lady Mylea a little further into the safety of her brothers” 

Lashur bowed “Of course your majesty” Ealric turned back to Mylea. “I hope to speak to you more later, but for now, you must see your brothers and I must see my father in law about our strategies going forward. Should you need anything, should your brothers need anything, please do not hesitate to come and find me in my tent. You will be always welcome there” 

Mylea curtiesed again “You are too kind your majesty” and with that. Ealric gave both of them a quick bow, Mylea one last pitying look, then turned and walked back into the camp, leaving Lashur and Mylea with their own thoughts. 

Mylea stood there feeling the full weight of the kindness and distinction the King was showing her and hers. But she could not dewall on it for too long, given the now daunting task ahead of her. Informing her brothers of what had come to pass. After a moment she looked up to find Lashur watching her waiting. 

“Ready?” he said gently. Mylea nodded wanting to get this over with. Lashur motioned her forward and the guards on duty parted to let them pass. The camp was even more impressive on the inside. The outside walling was made up of all none army personal. This was mostly for those stalls and people who followed the army to make a living, the next ring in from that was for the soldiers and the families of the soldiers that followed their men into battle. The next ring in from that was for any of the army members of rank. The next in from that held the Founders chapels and the medical tents where the wounded would be seen. The next was more a semi-circle, this was made up of the Lords and Denshins. As they walked towards this circle, Lashur pointed out other tents of interest. These tents were the ones at the heart of the camp. The one in the middle which was easily the largest tent in the camp, in a material of deep rich purple with a delicate silver pattern stitched into it, was the King's tent. To its left was a tent almost as large but not as grand. It was made of a simple grey cloth. Lashur pointed it out as the tent of the Watchers. Across from it to the right of the Kings tent was another richly clothed tent although not as large as the other two. Lashur informed her that this was the tent of the King's father in law. Lord Orvar Dagfinn. Mylea recognised the name but couldn’t put a face to it. 

Lashur turned into the circle that contained the Lords tents, thankfully it wasn’t hard to find her brother's tent as on a flag poll outside hung a flag with the family crest on it. They were almost at the tent when Faelen stepped out and turned straight into them. He stopped dead on seeing the pair. 

“Mylea?” he said in a bewildered tone, as his eyes travelled over her, from her dishevelled hair, to her bandaged nose, to her blood covered armour. His expression quickly turned to one of panic and worry, but Mylea who could no longer restrain herself broke down into tears and ran at her brother slamming into him and hugging him tight as she sobbed uncontrollably. While Faelen bombarded her with questions as he held her close to him. Lashur quietly stepped up behind her with Arex at his heels, who until then had been happily padding along behind them. 

“I think it best if you  talk inside your tent, I unfortunately can not join you. I am needed at the Watchers tent,” Lashur offered gently. Faelen looked up at him confused but nodded. 

“Thank you sir Watcher” Faelen said formally, Lashur bowed and quickly turned heading off in the opposite direction, as Faelen, still holding a sobbing Mylea, led her inside the tents main seating area, and gently guided her into a chair. Arex quickly settled beside her, placing his head in her lap to make her feel better, as she continued to sob gently. Faelen let her calm down, pouring her a glass of wine which he handed her and she took in shaking hands. He waited until the sobs began to quiet down and Mylea had her breath back before asking her, his voice full of concern and worry. 

“Mylea what happened? What are you doing here? Where is father?”

Mylea’s already heavy heart sunk further as reality crept in, the terrible truth playing on her face. Faelen’s expression turned to panic. 

“Mylea!” He said in a worrying tone. 

“Where is Barauil?” Mylea said cutting her brother off. 

“He should be returning from his scouting mission soon, why?” 

Mylea swallowed hard. Thinking how best to do this, how best to tell him that everything they had once known was gone. She thought it might be best to wait, but then she realised the waiting would be worse. She needed to say it now so it would be easier later. 

So she began, letting it all flow out of her. Starting from the moment she had seen them off to her being woken, to her discovery, to the fight to their mother and fathers sacrifice to her escape with Lashur, to their journey, to her decision to join the Watchers along the way, to finding him. Mylea allowed all this to sink in for her brother to process his emotions of pain and loss, of fury and rage, to despair and burning determination. He let out a furious tirade of expletives both Elvish and man aimed against Heires, which ended with; 

“I’ll kill that Codoril myself! I swear by the Gethog I will kill him myself!” 

Mylea felt that maybe now might be the time to mention the king, in the hopes of stopping her brother from doing something too rash. 

“The King promised to see justice done himself” Mylea said gently, starting to feel weak and tired. The hardest part was over and now she was just moving with the motions. Her body was starting to feel heavy as if it was made of lead. 

“The King?” Faelen said his temper subsiding for a moment, Mylea nodded.

“He came to greet Lashur personally when we arrived, he had asked about father too. I had to tell him I could not have him thinking father was lacking. He gave me his condolences and promised once the battle was won he would ride to Gaemon with his men and take it back for us personally” Mylea said in a small voice, her muscles ached, and her feet hurt, the strain of the last few days was starting to take its toll. 

Faelen sighed sagging back into his chair. “Ealric shows himself a good man once again. He honours a loyal man by dealing with this personally. Father would be honoured” Faelen said, swelling a little with pride in his fathers place. 

“That is what I told the king, when he offered his help.” Mylea said quietly, Faelen surveyed her a moment, before saying in a much gentler tone. 

“Father would be proud of you. What it took for you to stay strong and see this through” Faelen leaned forward so he could look into her downcast eyes, and gently took her hand. 

“I am proud of you elver quen” 

Antale sha jon” Mylea said, feeling her cheeks flush a little before she said painfully. 

“I am sorry about Olaia and Findir, I wish I could have done more” 

“Do not do that to yourself elver quen, I am just glad that you made it away and that is what I cling to now, until this war is over, then when the King does as he has promised then I shall see rightly by them. Until then we can not dwell on what we can not change” Faelen said, mimicking his wifes final words of wisdom to him, just then there was the sound of someone entering the tent who had caught both their attention, both looked round as Barauil walked in. He stopped on seeing her. The same looks of confusion and concern flashed across his face as they had Faelens.

“Mylea?” He said in surprise, looking between her and Faelen, trying to discern from their expression what was going on, but unable to find a fitting answer asked. 

“What are you doing here? What happened to you? Where is father?” 

Before Mylea could answer however Faelen had stood and motioned for Barauil’s to take the seat he had just vacated. 

“Sit Jon there is much to tell you” Despite having just been told he had not only lost his parents and youngest siblings, but his wife and son also, Faelen still put the needs of his younger siblings first. Comforting Mylea and Barauil. 

Barauil looked between the pair as he took the offered chair, as Faelen poured him a glass of wine, and handed it over to Barauil who took it as his growing concern showed plainly on his face. 

“Okay you are now scaring me, what is going on?” Barauil said the worry sounded clearly in his voice. Mylea sighed as Faelen placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“Take your time Elver quen” Faelen said gently. Mylea took a deep breath readying herself to tell it all again, but at least this time she would have her brother's help, to pick up when her voice failed her, and she would ever be thankful to him for that. She looked up into Barauil’s clear eyes, the colour of a clear sky on a summer's day, currently filled with  concern and worry, but a gentleness that broke her heart further. She could put it off any longer. After a large mouthful of wine she began again. Barauil remained silent the whole time, his expression barely changed, letting his sister tell what she must until she had told her story in full. 

Mylea watched the sorrow play across his face until it turned into stoney determination. He stared at the floor as he asked. 

“And you say the King himself would see justice done?” Mylea explained the encounter in full detail once more, Barauil simply nodded. 

“And you say you are to join the Watchers? Are you sure this is what you want especially now? 

Mylea nodded “I am, Jon, I have never been so sure of anything before” The determination with which she declared this statement told him all he needed to know. He looked up at Faelen who gave him a gentle nod, and gave Mylea’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. 

“Very well,” Barauil said gently. “If Faelen has no objections, there is nothing left for us to do, then to see you well fed, well rested and cleaned up before sending you to your fate” Barauil said trying to sound positive. Faelen voiced his agreement, and called over one of their stewards and said simply. 

“Send word to Watcher Lashur that my sister has accepted his offer, but should he not object, we would like her to spend her last night as Lady Mylea with her brothers and we will send her along in the morning, unless she is needed tonight then we shall of course send her over after dinner” 

The steward bowed and quickly ran off with this message, while Barauil called over one of their serving men and said. 

“Fetch fresh clothes for Lady Mylea, a tub to wash in and someone to clean her amour for her, also see to it a hot meal is prepared, and find a healer to take a look at that nose of hers” The servant nodded and hurried off to see to this also. 

Barauil smiled at her. “We can not be sending you off to the Watchers in your state” He teased her, allowing her to smile gently breaking some of the tension that had been brought with the retailing of her story. Filling Mylea with a sense of relief. It was done. She had made it, she had fulfilled her promise to her parents and now all that was to do was to move forward, and to face what tomorrow brought.

In the meanwhile however she handed herself totally to the care of her brothers, as  Barauil and Faelen sat with their sister, and talked of anything and everything they could, of what had passed at the camp since their arrival filling her in. Mylea simply sat and listened with great eagerness. Glad to get away from their first topic and having somewhat of a normal conversation with her brothers again. The reply from Lashur was quick saying that ‘of course that was perfectly fine and that he looked forward to seeing Mylea in the morning’ 

With that message confirmed, Mylea was at leisure until tomorrow morning. In which time she enjoyed what time she had with her brothers. A healer soon came to see to her nose, confirming that it was healing perfectly, although unsurprisingly it had left a wide scar across her nose, and that the bandage could be removed. Fresh cloths soon arrived, as well as a tub for her to wash in which she found she was the most grateful for. Being able to wash away the dirt and grime from the last few days was almost freeing. Her armour would arrive back shined up as good as new as she sat eating with her brothers. It was almost a shame when the evening drew on and they had to say their good nights and goodbyes as Mylea would most likely be up and gone before her brothers were due to rise. 

Her brothers held her close before finally sending off to the bed that should have been her fathers for the night. Mylea took the time to lay out her clothes for the next morning ready so when she rose the next morning she could be dressed and ready as soon as possible. Arex watched her sleepily from where he stretched out on the bed. Full from the extras from dinner he was well content for the time being, Mylea giggled watching him. Shaking her head a little. She had to admit, that afternoon had been a bit of a blur, once her brothers took over, she had been swept along with everything, although she wasn’t complaining it was nice for a time, to not have to worry and to let someone else take control and responsibility. She got herself ready for bed, laying her weapons out last, laying her family's sword and shield with her own. She felt a little guilty about having them but both her brothers had said she had earned to keep them with her. So she did. 

She sighed, there was no point in dwelling on it, as she got herself into bed and settled down. Arex instantly wriggled round and snuggling up against her for the night. She gave another little laugh as she hugged him stroking gently at his fur, as the pair started to slowly drift off. 

“Tomorrow, my life changes forever” She whispered to Arex, finally feeling that after everything something good was finally going to come of all this, and it started with tomorrow's Dawn. 

The next morning Mylea was up with the first rays of sunrise. Stretching as she rose glad to find much of her aching form the night before was gone. She quickly dressed in her clothes and amour, strapping on her weapons and shield. When she was ready, she heaved a heavy sigh bracing herself for what was to come, eager and nervous all at once. She gave the tent one last glance round before turning to Arex who had just shaken himself awake. 

“Come on boy let us get moving” He gave her a happy bark to confirm he was ready to go and followed her from the tent, following close at her heels as she made her way towards the Watchers tent. She was thankful that she did not have to go far and remembered the route they had taken yesterday, greatly helped by the camps layout. Making the tent very easy to find even in the morning's low light, as she got closer, she found a group of people standing outside the tents opening already. 

There were seven in total, six of them were stood huddled close together, with the seventh standing a little apart from the group. The groups she noted were mostly made of men. The only exception being a young female dwarf who stood close to an Elvish Mage, who caught Mylea’s interest as he carried no staff. Until the Man who stood apart from the rest, who was currently leaning on his, and seemed to be in deep conversation with a young man in medium armor similar to Lashur’s. Mylea assumed this young man was another Watcher, as in low light of dawn she couldn’t see if he carried a Watchers Medallion. The last three of the group were human men. 

Two of them, one of which had their back to her, had what Nesterin had called the Lord's air.

The Lord’s air was what young Lords, who for the most part had more money than sense, radiated when around those of importance. It appeared in the way they held themselves and the way they stood or moved, in their mannarisies and in their speech. Once Nesterin had pointed out what he had meant to Mylea, at a ball once, Mylea could no longer unsee it. She had become so aware of it that she was able to spot it a mile off. Even Wynfir had possessed the Lord’s air when it came to formal events. Mylea had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep back the rage that rose as she thought of Wynfir. She couldn’t help but wonder had he known what was happening? Did he know what his father was up to? Or did he choose not to notice? If so, she couldn’t tell what was worse, him having known and saying nothing, or him choosing not to. 

Mylea however did not have time to think on it, there were more important matters at hand to think of like the memory of her and Nesterin squirrelled away in a corner for an evening, as they pointed out to each other those that had and those that did not have, the Lord's air. It was a good memory, and Mylea was slightly glad that it did not bring as much pain as before, when thinking about it. 

Mylea however did not have much more time to think on it as she had reached the small huddled group. The young man in the medium armor that Mylea had assumed was another Watcher, was tall, and broad shouldered, with an athletic build. His dark hair was cut short, but had been styled to stick up in the front. He also had the faintest signs of an extended goatee growing in. But the most striking thing about him was his eyes, they were two different colours. One was a deep muddy brown the other was an almost sky blue, and right that moment he was in the middle of a heated discussion with the Mage who was looking increasingly irritated, while the young man simply continued to smile and give off an easy playful air. 

“I don’t care what Lashur said! We have enough to be dealing with as it is, we can’t go sparing the mages right now!”  The mage snapped in a disgruntled sharp tone. The Watcher raised his hands as if to ward off the irritable mage. 

“Hey, I'm just the messenger here! He wanted me to pass on the message and passed it on I have!” The Watcher said in a cheery voice, trying to remain light hearted and civil. 

“Well you can pass back a response then can’t you?” 

The Watcher sighed and dropped his hands in defeat. “Look, it's better if you talk to him directly, it’ll be sorted so much faster and easier for the pair of you, and will save me from getting shot in the arse for my efforts everytime!” The Watcher said now, sounding slightly wounded. The Mage simply glared at him.  

“No” the Mage said bluntly “I’ve already said we are far too busy to be dealing with the Watchers every whim. You’ve already wasted enough of my time with this pointless argument” 

“The King did not find it Pointless” Mylea jumped, she had been so engrossed in listening to the argument she had not heard Lashur approach behind her and stopping right beside her. His eyes were on the disgruntled mage as he stated. 

“In fact it was the King himself that said you were to help under Royal order. I was being polite by presenting it as a request. But if you are unwilling to help, I could always tell the King that you are far to busy with more important things, and he can turn that Royal order into a written command to the Brotherhood itself, in which case the Templars would be duty bound see fulfilled” 

The Mage seemed to squirm under the glare he was now surveying him under. He opened his mouth to speak, stammered over the start of several sentences before deflated giving up completely. 

“Fine! I’ll see to it the mages you requested will be free when you require them” 

With that the mage turned on his heel and stomped off between the tents. The group watched him leave with mixed expressions. The main one being curiosity and wonder. Lashur sighed and turned to the other Watcher. 

“Well that could have gone better”

“You’re telling me, he threatened to light me on fire at one point” 

“He wouldn’t have dared. He knows what I would have done to him had he tried” Lashur answered darkly. He then turned to the rest of the recruits. 

“Right with that out the way, looks like we have everyone here. I might as well do the introductions'' He then placed a hand on Mylea’s shoulder drawing the group's attention to her and making her feel rather on the spot. 

“Can I introduce you all to our last recruit, Mylea Rathiain, Mylea let me introduce you to everyone” 

He then proceeded to go around the small group and introduce them one by one. He motioned first at the young Watcher. “This is Sarek, he will be accompanying you though your trial” 

Sarek smiled and gave a little wave, “Hello and welcome to our little band of misfits” He used the same cheery voice he had used with the mage, and Mylea wondered if that was how he sounded all the time. His comment however earned him a stern look from Lashur. But Mylea had appreciated it, it allowed her to shake some of her nerves by giggling slightly. Sarek never-the-less gave Lashur a sheepish apologetic grin and a little I-couldn’t-help-myself shrug. Lashur chose to quickly move on. He motioned to the three humans of the group. “These gentlemen are Meinlys Parth, Novius Cynrad and Bafon Velor” Lashur pointed to each man as he said their names, and sure enough Mylea recognised two of them as Lords sons from one of her mothers balls. Right again little Nesterin. Meinlys smiled politely as he was introduced.  

“We have already meet Watcher Lashur” Meinlys says curtly as he stepped forward and took Mylea’s hand, whose heart dropped,She hadn’t just recognized him because of her mothers ball, but because he hadn’t given the greatest impression while there. He was one of those that thought money entitled you to anything and everything you wanted including the attention of a lady. The lady in question at the time had been Mylea. She had tried to politely lose him for most of the night, but he simply hadn’t taken the hint. It took another older gentleman seeing what had happened to come and rescue her by pulling her away for a dance. He had been one of the first to give her an offer of marriage, along with Wynfir, but instead of choosing him she had chosen Wynfir. Something Meinlys had also been clear in his disappointment about, stating favratisiam may be involved. A statement he seemed to have forgotten making, as he took her hand and gently kissed it in greeting. He smiled at her slyly. 

“It is a pleasure to see you again my lady, I hope your family is well and that Wynfir is not too lost without you” 

Mylea forced her face to remain straight and without the slightest hint of how his words affected her. Instead she put on the air of a lady and simply smiled. “It is a pleasure to see you again. My family are well thank you, and Wynfir is as supportive as ever and is handling the separation as well as he can, he is keeping himself busy so not to miss me” 

“That is a shame any man lucky enough to be Wynfir should miss you the moment you are out of sight” 

Mylea allowed herself a small laugh, out of the corner of her eyes she saw Lashur and Sarek exchange awkward glances clearly trying to work out if they should step in and say something, to stop any more inquiries. This somehow made her feel better, and gave her the confidence to endure it a little more. 

“I thank you Meinlys, you are too kind” Meinlys bowed. “Any time my lady” and thankfully stepped back. Allowing Bafon to bow. “Mylea it is a pleasure to meet you again, I must say I am surprised at your being here to join us, but am honoured by it” 

Mylea gave a polite bow of her head. “Thank you Bafon” Then Novius gave his bow and greeting allowing Lashur to move swiftly on, and eager to get this over with motioned to the last two members of the group, the elvish mage and the female dwarf. 

“This is Nuradini Warchin and Lindor Maltathdar” Mylea shook the hand of each and exchanged pleasantries with both before pointing at the axe strapped to Nuradini’s back. 

“Love the detail work, is that a triple forged Silver layered Finders Axe?” 

Nuradini stared up at her with a look of surprise which quickly turned into one of excited wonder. “You know your Axes! Yes it is, forged it myself” 

Mylea looked at the young dwarf impressed. Forging was no easy trade and to be able to triple forge with such detail and skill was a rare thing indeed, and something worthy of great respect. Something she was getting the impression she hadn’t seen much of from some of the members of the group. 

“It’s amazingly done, and beautifully detailed” Nuradini seemed ready to burst into excited speech when Lashur cleared his throat. 

“Another time please ladies, we do have more pressing matters” The ladies blushed and apologised as he Elf watched them with interest. Mylea gave Lindar a nervous smile, he was a thin, gangly man, with ash blond hair and deep green eyes that seemed to see right through a person, and Mylea could sense the magic rolling off him in waves.  After a moment felt she had to ask. 

“Lindor may I ask, what Magic do you specialize in?” Lindor was visibly caught by the question but then grinned as if he should have known. 

“You are an interesting one, I specialise in combat magic as well as healing” 

“Ah” Mylea said. “That explains the lack of staff” Lindor bowed at the statement as if to confirm she was right. 

“You never mentioned that you were a mage! When were you going to mention that?” Meinlys said, a little disgruntled, at having not noticed himself. That someone could just walk into the group and know something he did not about someone he had known a good three days more than them, was visibly frustrating and Mylea had to admit that pleased her. He had always acted like an arrogant know it all. It was nice to prove that in fact, he didn’t know as much as he made out. Come to think of it, if she was truly honest, she had been left with a very nasty impression with him that he was doing no favours to mend now. 

“Is his being a mage going to be a problem?” Lashur said his tone dark and dangerous, almost daring Meinlys to say something of it. “Of course not” Meinlys answered. 

“I just think that might have been useful to know before hand” 

“You would have found out when it was appropriate, until then it's not our business to tell you personal information about each other, Now” Lashur said curtly signaling an end to the discussion. 

“You have all been introduced we can get moving on to what is important, your trial” He looked around the small group, 

“Every Watcher must undergo a trial before they can be sworn in. Your trial is simple: you will be spending the night in the wilds at the Orian ruins, you will be returning at sunset tomorrow, If you survive and perform well, you will be sworn in.  If not you will be returned to your old lives and be unable to reconsidered, do you understand?” 

The group nodded. 

“Very good Sarek will be going with you, while you undergo this trial, he will teach you what you need to know about the Corrupted you will come across and be fighting” 

“Wait, so this is not a simple camping night, we are expected to fight Corrupted already? We haven’t been given any actual training” Meinlys said a look of disbelief on his face. 

“We would not send you out on this trail had you not had some sort of combat training, You have all been trained in sword fighting and Nuradini has been trained as a berserker” Lashur said calmly, Meinlys eyes drifted to Mylea as he said this as if to use her as an example of why he did not believe this to be true. But let the matter go, seeing there was no way he could argue the point. Seeing that Meinlys wasn’t going to give any more resistance Sarek added in a far more serious tone then he had previously used.

“The best way for you to learn how to deal with the Corrupted, is to face them head on. We would not send you out if we did not believe you had a fighting chance. We are not monsters, we would not send you out to your certain death, you can be assured of that. But that is not to say that this is going to be easy. We have an uprising on our hands there is no time to be gentle with this, because the corrupting most certainly will not be” 

“So long as you follow Sarek and mind what he says you will survive” Lashur said bluntly. 

“Now we have set up packs for each one of you with everything you will need to camp overnight, they are just inside the entry way for you, grab one and we will get going” 

As the others moved to get their packs Lashur turned to Mylea. “Arex is going to have to stay with me, this is your trail and we need to make sure you can handle this on your own should you need to” 

Mylea wasn’t surprised at this but was still a little disappointed, she looked down at Arex who had been sitting patiently at her feet. He looked up at her with big sad eyes and started to whine as if he knew what was about to happen. 

“Oh do not start with the whining you know Lashur is right and he will look after you until I get back, and I will be back boy I promise” Arex gave one last whine but got up and went and walked sadly over to the tents entrance and sat down head lowered to show his displeasure. 

Bo Sel” Mylea said, stroking his head as she went past to get her own pack. But finding Nuradini struggling with hers, quickly helped her on with it, before picking up her own while the others simply sorted themselves out. Once everyone had their packs they rejoined Lashur outside. 

“Ready?” He asked, they all nodded their agreement. 

“Good follow me” He turned and led them through the camp and out the other end to the guard post. The two guards on duty bowed at Lashur as he drew level with them. He gave each guard a quick nod of his head before turning to the group. 

“This is where your trail starts, the moment you step out you are on your own, Sarek is there to guide only and will offer advice. The rest is up to you. This is not to say he will not fight, he will should the situation call for it. But he will not do all the work for you” 

The group nodded their understanding. 

“Very good, well then good luck recruits and may the Founders Guide you”

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