Tales around Mirateia 17

Eza was sitting on the couch in her father's office like she had done so many times before, but this time it was different, she had a request to make or instead demand from her father.   At the desk in the middle of the room, full of scrolls and other papers, holding a cup of water in one hand and pinching his nose with the other, was Malthin.   "Can you repeat your idea one more time, I just want to make sure that I heard you right Eza?" Malthin said finally taking a sip of the water.   "Right, as you might have noticed Ira has not been herself ever since she was brought back by those barbarians," Eza said with a voice full of irony and disgust "And I think the only chance we have to get our crown princess back is for me to travel to Emitlestar and try and find out what really happened down there and if possible find his body and bring it home, it might not be in any condition for her to see and to be honest I don't want her to but she might feel slightly better knowing where he is and that he is close by" Eza continued, looking away after the last part, gathering herself again she looked back at her father "So to make a long story short, I request or let me be honest I rather demand permission to travel to Emitlestar under the cover of it being an official royal visit, so what do you say dad?" Eza said smiling.   Her father scratched his chin for a moment before he stood up and began walking back and forth for a minute before he turned towards Eza.   "Eza, Don't you think this idea of yours is too much? having you and a decent amount of escort travelling from here to Emitlestar is going to be expensive and is going to take a long time to and from here, don't you think its a bit much to do for a commoner that's for all we know is dead and have been for about a month?" Malthing said sitting down at the edge of the table.   Eza sat straight up on the couch and looked straight at her father, narrowing her eyes before she got up and walked the short distance until she was face to face with her father.   "What I think doesn't matter in this case, what matters is that Ira needs closure and this is possibly the only way she can get it," Eza answered looking her father straight in the eyes.  
Two days later Eza was on her way down south taking one of the boats down the Iolia river making a good pace. Thinking back Eza was surprised that her father even agreed to this, but she was glad that he did, the conversation she had with Ira the day before was still in her memory, especially the part where Ira described how she and Azran were betrayed, that combined with the people who brought Ira back, there was just something that didn't sit right with her.   Following 3 weeks of travel Eza and her staff along with an escort of 10 Imperial Guard made it to the town of Beshear having crossed the plains of Central Dercia without much trouble. Eza decided that although they were making a good speed on their way to Emitlestar both they and their animals they have brought in Shagar could use a few days rest and the time could also be used to stock up on some supplies they were running low on.   One of the nights, Eza was sitting in her room at the inn, the group had rented reading a book she had brought with her for the trip when it knocked on the door. "Come on in," Eza said, closing the book and setting it aside.   Opening the door and stepping in was one of Eza's trusted servants; she had served as Eza's assistant for the last two years.   "Your highness, one of the servants said that he saw a man fitting the description of the one we seek at one of the inns in this town," the servant said following a bow.   Hearing this, Eza almost fell off her chair "How is this possible? is the servant sure?" Eza said in rapid succession, getting up from the chair in the process.   "I'm only reporting back what he said to me, but given that we all saw the illusion of the man's face before we departed the capital, I have all the reason to believe it to be true," the servant said.   "Alright, get me a couple of Guards and the name of the inn, let's see if Mara will bless us with such luck"   -------   Azran quickly made it to Emitlestar where he quickly began working a few odd jobs here and there just so he could save enough money to buy some equipment for his trip north; luckily for him, he was able to find some decent-paying jobs; they were not pretty but they paid well enough that he, after only a few days were able to buy some cooking gear and a pair of solid boots for the trip. Before leaving Azran also liberated a line of tread that he planned on using together with a nail he had found to create a fishing line so that he could gather food that way and could save his money on the more important stuff. Soon he made his way out of Emitlestar and began his walk back to Pearlhal and Ira. After around a week and a half of travel, Azran managed to get a lift on a carriage going to the market in Beshear. Arriving at Beshear Azran found that he was low on money and began looking for a job and found it in a small inn.   After a week of working at the inn, he was staying at Azran had earned enough money for him to continue his journey back to Pearlhal and was on his way back from one of the local farms carrying a bag destined for the inn, when the heavens suddenly opened up within seconds he was drenched and by the time he arrived at the inn he was shaking from the cold as well. "Alright Azran, off with the clothes before you catch a cold or worse," Ivy, the barmaid and the one that had hired Azran said before throwing a towel to Azran so he could dry off and cover himself up a bit before she disappeared to the back of the inn to find some dry clothing Azran could use while waiting for his to dry. Weren't around him, Azran was glad that it had been a slow day because there weren't any patrons currently at the inn; when it hit him, he had taken his shirt off in the middle of the inn.   Coming back with some dry clothing Ivy noticed the tattoo on Azran's shoulder "So, that tattoo you have on the shoulder, is that what I think it is?" Ivy said while walking back to the desk and began pouring a pint of ale for the two of them.   "mhm," Azran said just before he took a sip of the ale.   "Excuse me for asking, but what is an Imperial Guard member doing here? You are clearly both too young and in too good health to be retired"   "Sorry, I can't tell you...." Azran was interrupted when two persons entered the door equipped with armour Azran only knew too well; these two were wearing the Armour of the Imperial Guard. but it was not the two guards that made Azran freeze it was the person walking in behind them.   "Greetings cadet Buon, been a long time," Eza said with a smile that made Azran slightly scared.   "Azran, who is this?" Ivy said, looking confused between Azran and Eza.   Before answering, Azran looked over at Eza with an expression asking if he could tell or not, Eza held up a finger and signalled to her two guards, who, in a firm but surprisingly easy way cleared out the last few guests at the inn before looking back at Azran and gave a small nod.   "Ivy, this is princess Eza Astalles 3rd in line for the throne" Azran said before emptying his pint of ale in one go.   "SHE IS WHAT," Ivy said shocked, looking at Azran, who only shrugged his shoulders and looked over at Eza, who gave a confirming nod.   "The cadet is correct miss, and I must say that this is quite, dare I say, a miracle that we ran into each other here" Eza stopped for a moment and looked around before finding a stool and sat down and continued, "Where was I? oh that's right, I think Mara must have had something to do with it, I was travelling to Emitlestar to find out what happened there two months ago and if I was lucky I was to bring back your corpse so finding you standing here alive is truly something," Eza said looking towards Azran   Hearing that Eza thought that Mara had something to do with it all, he could not stop himself from smiling a bit for himself and thought that she was more right than she could imagine.   "I do have to ask you, cadet, how did you survive, and what are you doing here?" Eza asked after a minute of silence.   "Your highness, I promised two very important people that I would do everything in my power to protect your sister so I'm making my way back to Ira, and for how I survived? that's something you will have to ask the gods about because they know that better than I do your highness" Azran answered, following with a slight bow.   For a minute Eza stood in front of Azran with her arms crossed looking at him with her eyes narrow as if she was trying to decide if she believed him or not, after the minute she relaxed her arms and told Azran that he should go get his stuff if he had any because they would begin the journey back to the capital at dawn the following day. When he returned to the place Eza was staying, he was greeted by his fellow Guardsmen.   The following day the group began their long journey home, and during the journey, Azran would, as discrete as possible, ask around about how Ira was doing, and the more he learned, the more determined he was to get back as fast as possible.

Cover image: by Gayle Porter Hoskins


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