Shield of Spheros Chapter 8 Prose in Zodiak | World Anvil
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Shield of Spheros Chapter 8

The painter and The King

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Audery didn't know how to react to his statement, was he really glad that she had decided to stay? This thought changed that pit in her stomach into a swarm of butterflies. No, no, she was going there. She was burned by the likes of him before, but he didn't act like all the others. He really seemed to really mean it. Something that put her off guard, and that made her nerves.   "This next song is in honour of our gracious host, Lord Mildenhall." Tom said, and he started the song. It was a moving tone, meant for dancing. But there was really no room for them to dance. And was she really thinking of dancing with Lord Handsome? A woman appeared behind him and pocked him in the ribs.   "What in Hiubin's name are you waiting for, an invitation. Ask that girl for a dance," the woman with reddish brown hair, and beautiful hazel eyes said. Lord Handsome smiled.   "I will, Lady Frid," he said. He then bowed towards Audery. "May I have this dance?" With a huge grin, she took his out stretched hand.   "Let's hope that all those years in the wild didn't damage the live time of lessons." He chuckled, what a beautiful sound, he never chuckled around her. They started to dance, and it didn't take long for other couples to join them. Some elders and children were standing on the side, clapping at the rhyme. "Was that woman really, Lady Frid?" She asked. He nodded. "My mother always told about her friends, three young women who stuck with each other through thick and thin. But all of them grew up and apart, my mother married my father. And she lost thatch with the others. Lady Frid was the only name she ever said out loud."   "The other two also moved here, my mother was one of them. Madam Ward was the other," he replied. He was standing so close to her, it was almost too close. Not uncomfortably close, but the need to kiss him close. "They never talked about a fourth friend."   "Which those not surprise me, I really do not believe that they were actually friends. Knowing my mother, or, she ditched them when she married one of the wealthiest man in the kingdom." Which in her mind sounded as the most likely option. The music died down, and she found herself longing for the next song, the next dance. But Lady Frid walked towards them, with a wraith in her hands.   "Well, well. That was a sight to behold. My dear, I believe your outfit is missing this," she gave the wraith made from lavender and blue roses to Terence. He asked with his eyes if it was alright, which she answered with a nod. The wraith was not that heavy, and it smelled wonderful. "There, you look wonderful."   "Thank you, my Lady," Audery said.   "It really was nothing, I believe that we are not properly introduced." Lady Frid said, although her eyes twinkled.   "Audery Treloar, I am unforutanlly Rosita Eastes- Treloar's daughter." Audery said. The woman chuckled.   "Than you are fortuned enough to have inherited your father's features and his good manners. I knew your mother when we both were young. Back then, the both of us had our eyes on a handsome man. He chose me over her, we didn't get a chance to marry, though. He was sent away to war, after only a couple of weeks together. I never laid eyes on him again, and I was left raising his child on my own. But him choosing me was something your mother hated me for, and she moved away after a marriage proposal from your father. And I moved here with my remaining two friends. But I have begun on a vent, and you already know how your mother is. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here. But I will leave the two of you to enjoy the festival together." Terence looked a bit sheepish. "Come on boy, the girl might be willing to try some of the famous ale, or something else to drink. The apple and cinnamon kettle cake are to kill for. In other words, go and give that girl a taste of Spheros. She has decided to stay, now let her know what Spheros has to offer." Audery decided right then and there that she liked Lady Frid. The woman winked at her, before she wondered off.   *******   Lady Frid was right the ketlle cake were delisous, she was never a huge fan of alchol. So she passed on the famous ale and instead went for the tea. Terence did the same thing, claiming that he couldn't drink while on duty. Which made her chuckle a little, he easily could have said that he those not like to drink either. But he went with that excuse and she loved it. The currently walking passed the many stalls, she talked with other adventures, with the merchants and locals. She looked at the merch and even bought some items that she might need in the future. Might was maybe even to big of a word. Terence said nothing about it however, not about her making contacts, or about her spending money. The total oposite of Anthony, he always complained about these things. About spending their money on stuff they didn't need. Although some of that proofed to be handy in the end. Or about her making a network, which has landed them some good paying jobs. Music reached her ears, this was another group of bards. And people around them started to dance. Their hands filled with stuff, a woman with her young daughter took Terence by the hands and pulled him into the frey. He danced with the young girl, who couldn't be older then six or seven. He would make a good father, no matter what gender the child ended up to be. She shook the image of a child with his sapphire blue eyes out of her head. No, she was not going to fall in that trap, although she had noticed that she had enjoyed the fall this far. She loved the time they had send with each other, during the festival. How he had offered to carry her purchade items, only once. And after she had said no, didn't offer it agian. How he was so kind pointing out the locals who had hired adventurers in the past. Which helped her network, but above else. She had enjoyed his company, her mind brought her back to the moment that they were so close that they might share a kiss.   "By Hiubin's beard, it is you." A man's voice brought her back to the here and now. Her gaze snapped to the man, and was surprised to see the painter. The one she had worked for in the past. "Nice meeting you here, the Gods are very kind on that regard. Here I am selling my paintings, and looking into hiring another adventure for another creature hunt, and here you are." The man said.   "Mister Albury, it is indeed a pleasant surprise. I have to confess that I wondered how you were doing a couple of weeks ago. I only need to warn you that my partner, has left me a couple of months ago." She replied. The man chuckled.   "That was not a partner, that was a criminal." Mister Albury said. That was the second one who said something about Anthony, was she really that blind? She was not able to see what kind of man he was, until he had robbed her. "And I am not put off by you working alone. Although now I have to warn you, this job involves a servant of Dakara," she frowned, that was the God of the undead, his servants are better known as Necromancers. Practicing unsavery and dangerous magic. Not so much by the fact that they litterly raised the dead. But the magic itself was eating their body and soul. Resulting them to die an early death, and most of the time changing into something that she would describe as unnatural. "Are you still interested?" She had had crossed paths with a servent of Dakara before, a young woman. Who al but consumed by her magic and mad with the pain it coursed her. Audery was the one who put an end to that woman's suffering. And she would do it again, if needed. She nodded.   "Sign me up," she said.   "Are you sure?" Terence asked, she almost jumped up. She hadn't heard him or even noticed that the music and the dancing around her had stopped. She nodded again, she will tell him the details about her past experience later. "Then I can only be glad for you, you have finally found a job."   "O, my Lord Mildenhall. It is nice to meet my grasicous host, this is my first time visiting the festival. Not that I have never being in Spheros before, but this is my first festival and I am selling more paintings then any normal day. Speaking of paintings, I have something for you." He said to Audery and he walked toward a stall, she had't visited jet. It was filled with all kinds of painting, from various creatures, landsscapes and people. " Here it is," he pulled a painting out of the cart that was gaurded by the painters trusted donkey and handed the painting to her. It was to her surprise a painting from her, posing with her old short sword, her long bow and cuver on her back. She was looking towards something off the canvas, the eyes focused, ready to take on any kind of type of danger. It was a painting that eminated power, and confidence. "Do you like it, I made it for you. Hoping that our paths would meet again." She opened her mouth, but words failed her. She had sat for paintings, portrets before. All dolled up and in the poses that a young Lady of her birth needed to take. But this was the first time someone had captured her strenght, not only by showing of the weapons but also by the look in the eyes. She didn't like it, she loved it.   "I love it, but I do not have the money to pay you." she said, but the man waved her away.   "The paintings I was able to make from the creature you hunted down, have sold above my expectations. That was payment enough for me. But now I need to help other costumers, I will be leaving for the creatures at the end of the week. Be ready," he waved her goodbye, and she looked from the painting to Terence.   "Wait a second, I want to ask the man something." He said before jogging towards mister Albury, it was a short conversation and she was not sure what was being said, but they shook hands so it might be something pleasant. Then he motioned ... to come. "You have your hands full, let ... bring your stuff to your room in the guild. So that you can enjoy the festival a bit longer." She looked at ... Those he not mind that he was going to miss out on the festival?   "Do not worry madam, I am not as young anymore and I wanted to retire to the manor. So a short visit to the guild building will not be a problem. By the way, maybe I am able to wiggle a meal out of Madam Ward." ... said, with a large warm grin on his face. Only the grin convinced her to give him her bags and painting. He bowed his head towards her and left them.   "Those he really do not mind?" She asked and Terence sighed.   "He those not mind, he was already giving me hints about him retiring for over an hour now. He stayed however, because you were to busy buying stuff and he didn't want to interupt." Terence said and he looked at her. "Do not worry, he knew that he was free to go when ever he wanted. It was his choice to stay with us," she lowered her head. But there was not much time to pounder over this piece of information. The group of bards started a new song, and all on the streets started to dance. This time not only Terence was pulled in, but so was she. She twisted and turned, locked arms with people she didn't know, or had brievely met a few hours ago. But it was all in good fun, the music ended and she was tossed into Terence's arms. Where she lost her balance, and needed to find support on his chest. He had wrapped his arms around her, so that she wouldn't fall down. They were so close, for the second time that day. Too close, but a sliver of a though said to her that she was not close enough. He looked at her, some kind of warmth came from his sapphire blue eyes. A slight whisper of a smile on his lips, she wanted to kiss him. She really wanted kiss him, hoping that the kiss would take all of her worries and doubts away. Hoping that she would forget Anthony for a moment, and she almost had forgotten about him. While she was inside Lord Handsome's arms. Their heads moved a bit closser, and closser. Closed her eyes...   "All make way for the King!"   ****** Her eyes flew open, and she jumped away from Terence. Not because she had changed her mind, but the king, a distant family member of hers, was still in contact with her mother. And if he saw her kissing some man, no matter if it is a Lord. A Lord that had a lot of land, well that will be reported to her. And what while her mother do, well her mother will come here and insert herself back into her life. And will try to make decisions for her, and will destroy this little sliver of happiness she had found. Everyone except Terence bowed very low towards the ground, the man who shouted came towards her.   "You are forgetting your woman!" the man shouted. He raised his hand, ready to strike her down. Of course, the man those not know her, she was ten when she visited the capital with her father. And when it was time for her to visit the capital again, her mother had sold her to the old Lord Posner. His hand came down, but she caught it mid-air.   "I am sorry, my Lord. But I do not allow a random man's hands on me. Even if he is a man of the king. I assure you, I do not forget myself. I know my rank, that is given to me by birth. Which places me above you, as a matter of fact." She said. The King who was standing behind the man chuckled slightly.   "What is your name, miss.? What is the name that grant you that claim?" The king said. She smiled at him, while bowing slightly.   "It has been a long time, great uncle Ivor. As for my name, I am young Lady Audery Treloar, daughter of Patrick Treloar. You might not remember me, I was little when you saw me last. I am now a woman grown, and Adventure by trade, meaning that in time of need that my short sword and my bow are at your disposal. And I hope that as my part of my kin, you will never order me to use those against something, or someone that is close to my heart." She said, it was formal. But she remembered how her father said the exact same, all those years ago. The King laughed with a deep belly laugh.   "Ohh, I remember you, young Lady. When you arrived at court holding your father's hand. All doe eyes, and full of wonder. But you always had a mind sharp as a knife and a tongue to match it. You were the one who wrote me the letter about the attack." He said, she looked up and looked him in the eyes. He had the same amber eyes as her father, his once blond hair was now completely gray. His son and heir was standing behind him. Russel, that was his name, and he was not only tight to her family, but to Duncan Posner's as well, on his mother's side. The young man was almost a younger version of his father, only for those dark green eyes. Terence looked at her a bit confused, she never told him about her letter, or about her relation to the king. Not that the letter part was any concern to him, or it was not. Until the almost kiss, from a few seconds ago.   "I did, my king. It didn't sit right with me at all, and I thought you wanted to know the truth," she said. "I however didn't expect you to show up in person, not at all with the crown prince in tow." He again let go of a belly laugh.    "You are Patrick's daughter, alright. But you have to know that I take this matters very seriously. A Lord and his family were attacked inside their own home, and in their own city, by men I have sent out to..."   "Inspect, that curtain, Lord. We all know why they were here, my King." She said, and he nodded. Her mind and tongue were indeed as sharp as a knife. Which, according to her father, was her best asset. But, according to her mother, her greatest handicap. No man, in his right mind, wants a wife that speaks her mind. She looked at Terence, he those not seemed to mind it one bit, and if he did. Then he hid it very well.    "But I never ordered an attack. I am not stupid enough to do such a thing. Spheros is almost a country on its own, and it will be a shame to lose such an ally." The King said, she had to take his word for it. Him coming here, instead of sending another high ranking Lord to deliver the message, was him showing dominance. "But I noticed that there is a celebration of some kind going on."   "It is the Phodia Festival, my king." Terence replied, "We celebrate the Goddess that blessed us with Spring."   "Oh, yes. A very beautiful tradition, as I recall. Music, food, and love that is in the air. I am offering my apologies to the people of Spheros, please go on and pretend that we are just guests from out of town." Which wouldn't be easy. But Audery had an idea, she motioned to the group of bards, and they took the hint for what it was. She then walked over to a couple of maidens.   "Ask the prince, king and their man to a dance," she said. The girls nodded and rushed forward. Terence had followed her, and chuckled.    "I have to inform my staff," he said. "Please stay the night in the mansion, you will have the same room as before." He wanted to walk away, but she pulled him in. And kissed him on the cheek. His hand shot towards it. His cheeks were burning a bit brighter than before.    "I will entertain the king, while you are gone," she said, turned around and walked towards the crowed that was tangled into another dance.

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Cover image: by KELLEPICS


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