Shield of Spheros Chapter 9 Prose in Zodiak | World Anvil
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Shield of Spheros Chapter 9


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Terence blew out a sigh of relief, when the King was sitting at the head of the table. Audery was sitting next to him, telling the story about how she became an Adventurer. It was the same story that she told the lords, who were also sitting at the same table. Their heads were low, and they didn't thatch any of their plates, the Mildenhall manors cook had prepared his best dish. In this short amount of time, he was not happy about it, but that was beside the point. There was nothing they couldn't do anything about it. The King and the Crown Prince were here, and they were used to get the best of everything. Emrys was not present, he was probably inside the tavern, or inside the Blushing Secret, the brothel. Not that Terence was complaining about it, Emrys was a young man and if he was already drunk or was enjoying the company of a woman or man. It might be better if he stayed away.   "So what is the strangest creature you have ever fought?" Prince Russel asked. Audery thought about that, and her eyes wandered to Lord Posner, and his friend.   "Lord Posner and company," she replied. That got her the attention of those said Lords and his as well. He wondered why she picked those three as her strangest creatures. He believed that she had seen a lot of creatures along the way, but why was she picking them?   "Why?" Russel asked, hanging on her lips. She just shrugged and sighed.   "Every other creature that I fought, and this includes bandits, wizards and servants of Dakara. All of them saw me as an equal, someone with a weapon, someone who could wield a spell or two. A threat, someone to look out for. But those Lords did not. They saw me as an easy target, someone who needs to be told what to do and how to do it. I believe that Lord Posner himself told me, 'get off the table, that is not how a lady behaves.'" Everyone now looked at Lord Posner who slowly became red in the face. Was it anger, embracement. Only he could tell, but it would be better for him if he stayed silent. The King himself, Lord Posner's uncle be marriage, had given him a tongue lashing. One that made Terence believe that the King was not behind this whole ordeal. "I mean, he was right, about that a Lady should not jump on a table. But they already had their rapiers drawn and coming towards me. Besides, there were assassins. So, I am not going to sit in a chair, or cower in the furthest corner of this room. I had my short sword, and I was able to fight." The King and Russel nodded slightly, and then looked in slightly confused at Lord Posner. Terence instead looked at her, she bowed her head slightly, she might felt a bit uncomfortable, wearing one of his mother's old dresses. But it was all he had to offer her at the moment, maybe he should have a dress or two just for her. So that she can wear it when stuff like this happens again, but then again he hoped that this unexpected visit from the King and Crown prince was a one time thing.   "How was I supposed to know that she could fight like a trained soldier?" Lord Posner said, rather loud. He forgot the fact that Audery already shared that information with him, and the others. Just a few minutes before the fight.   "What do you mean by that, she literally told us the same story, she told the King? We only didn't believe her at the time, that was until she was able to attack you." Lord Pinnick said, his blue eyes slightly glanced towards Audery. "She was wearing a dress, and she was able to move in it. Which surprised me even more." Lord Posner narrowed his eyes, he was mad at this point. His 'friend' just sold out and although Terence hated, maybe hated was a bit of a strong word for it, but he was not able to think of another word to describe the feeling. But being sold out like that, well that was going to hurt the man's ego a bit more.   "Well the two, or originally the three, of you not only shamed yourselves. But also me, and my kingdom. I sent you out here for an inspection," the King said. So he was not denying it, but there was no point in hiding the fact. "You also hired the Hiubin's Angels, which made a little girl fatherless." The King then placed his focus back on Audery. "How did you know about them, I never heard about their organization. Until I received your letter, I went out there to ask for more details. And although they kept quiet at first, they couldn't deny me the answers I wanted."   "Through my profession, my King." She said. "I am sorry, but I vowed to a lot of Gods never to speak about it, and I do not want to be an oath breaker." The King nodded, and he sighed.   "That is fine. I do not need to know more. But let me say this, gentlemen, I need to think about a punishment, but the first thing on that list is a large amount of money towards the fatherless girl. Then some more to Lord Trethewey's family. Also, the two of you are going to apologize to Lady Trethewey and his children. And this is only the beginning." Lord Posner jumped up and slammed a fist against the wooden table. His chair fall towards the ground, creating a louder sound.   "I am not going to pay one penny towards a man that was killed during his job, I am not going to apologize to anyone! Why should I, I am not the one who killed Trethewey! That honour falls on the Young Lady Treloar over there!" His voice echoed through the room. Audery stood up and walked towards him slowly. At first, he stood his ground, but then started to cower away.   "That is enough Audery," Terence said. "This is a matter for the King." Terence stood up. "My house and staff are at your disposal, Young Lady Treloar and I will take our leave." The King nodded once again.   "We will not take long, and we will be out of your hair the day after tomorrow." The King replied. Terence wanted to say something back, but the Crown Prince stood up from his chair as well.   "Father, I believe that you do not need me. I will have another look another look of the city and the festval." The Crown Prince said.   "Not on your own. The crime rates are the lowest in the Kingdom, but that those not mean that there is no crime at all." The King snapped, apperntly the King wanted his son there. Maybe so that the young man learned something. Sir Arnold Harvey entered the dinning hall.   "My King, it would be my honour to escort the Prince through our beautifull city." He said, the King sighed and The Crown Prince rushed out, before his father could object any furter.   "Sir Harvey, you will loose him before midnight. Do not blame yourself if you do," the King said. Sir bowed his head and followed the Prince. With Audery and Terence behind him.   ******   Terence and Audery were sitting in his study, both in silence. Listing to the faint screams that escaped the dinning hall. The King apperently was giving the two remaining Lords a piece of his mind. Which only plastered his cleams further. Terence sat in his chair, which was his father's before him. Audery was sitting on his desk. And after another flurry of words, she sighed.   "Why did you stop me," she asked. "I could handle Duncan on my own." He smiled at her.   "I know," he replied. The feeling when he glimpsed at her was adictive. The butterflies in his stomach, the racing pace of his beating heart. He didn't want to end this, he wanted more. He wanted to make her smile, he wanted to kiss her. And maybe if she allowed him go even further then that. He wanted to wake up next to her every day, but he knew that he would never own her. And he never wanted her to feel that way, some how he need to make that clear to her. And by more then only words. She was still looking at him with a qeustionble look in her eyes. " I wanted to spare Lord Posner the emberisment of another beating." With this reply she chuckled, another sound he wanted to hear every day. Her laughter, was a small ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Yes he was in love with her, and he wanted to say that out loud. He opened his mouth.   "It is nice to know that someone had my back," she said. "But can you please stop watching out for me. You have given me more then enough. More then I can ever repay you."   "You do not have to repay me. I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to," he replied. "And I will always have your back, as long as you wish to stay in Spheros. I would have offered you the room you would be staying in, but I know how much you value your freedom." She smiled. "I hope you are staying here for a very long time."   "Ohh, why is that?" She asked, the playful nature of her tone did not escape him. He smiled and stood up. But he didn't want to make eye contact, he would lose all his nerves. "My Lord?" He made the misstake of turning around, and looked right into her shimmering amber eyes. She was standing so close to him, to close not uncomfortably close. But still to close, they were this close before. Right before the King arrived, they almost shared a kiss. A string of her honey hair hung infront of her eyes, slowly he stroke it back behind her ear. Leaned into his thatch, a small tear rolled over her cheek. "Please, let this not be another misstake." Her underlip trembled.   "I will never treat you the way Anthony treated you. I will never abonden you, or chain you up. I swear this upon all the Gods who want to take this vow." He whispered. "You are not mine, not in that way. Although I want you to be, I will not stop you if you want to leave. But know there is always a place for you here."   "You do not know me," she said, another tear rolled over her cheek.   "I know that you are caring, smart, strong, good with the short sword and bow. You are loyal, and as stuborn as a donkey. I know that you felt this way before, for another man. One that had stabbed you in the back. And now you are unsure if you can trust me. And what I do not know, I am willing to wait, see, or find out in time. If you bles me with the honour." He said, he slowly wrapped his arms around her. She was shaking like a leaf, just like she had done when they first met each other. Only this time there was another reason for it. "But only you can grant me that honour. I will never take it if you do not want it."   "You have a way with words, my Lord Handsome." She said with a sniff. Did she just called him Lord Handsome? Maybe she had always done that in her own mind, it was cute now that he knew that she had a nickname for him.   "I had a rather expecive education," he joked, which made her laugh through her tears. "But I mean it. I have fallen for you. And it hitted me harder then you faceplanting in the snow. Which was another sign of your stubborn nature." He planted a soft kiss on the top of her head. "Know that I give my heart to you willingly."   "I want to do the same thing to you, but I am to scared to do so," she whispered. While wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. "And after all what you told me, I am bo longer afraid to trust you with this little piece of information." He smiled , while she looked up at him.   "I will take it," he said. He slowly moved his head towards her lips, and softly cerresed them with his. He broke of the kiss, for a brief second. "That is all I realy want from you," and he kissed her again. This time with a bit more passion, she answered his kiss. While pulling him thightly to her.   ******   Audery jawned, her eyes were still closed and still she was able to tell that she was not in her own bed. The images of what happened last night, still rolled to her mind, like a never ending story. But their story ended, it ended with them sneaking through the hallway like naughty teenagers. The thought about that brought a small, but it is a smile upon her face. Terence soflty snorred besides her. They were wearing their nightclothing, they hadn't have sex or any of that. They just cuddled and kissed, she wanted to take this slow. It was not what she had done with Anthony, she had rushed into everything. Under the believe that she was in love with him, but she didn't had the same feelings for him as she was currently having for Terence. Just being near him brought her joy, and it was nice not to have explain everything until detail with him. Like she had done with Anthony. She opened her eyes and slowly looked around his room. It was baren, like everything else inside the manor. It had a bed, a cabinet for his clothes, a large mirror and a chamber pot. There was no art, not even a carpet on the cold stone floor. She discovered that fact while using the said chamber pot, and cursed Terence slightly for it. He had given her the room, on the other side of this manor. If he stayed truth to his word, maybe she was allowed to make a few changes over there. First she would prefer blue bedding and curtains, a carpet on the cold stone floor and maybe some vases with flowers, some art. Yes, she would turn that room to her liking. If he allowed her to do that, it was his house after all. And she was a guest in here. She slowly got up, careful not to wake him up and slowly made hre way out of the room. There were a few servents, who stopped what they were doing and looked at her if she was some sort of exotic creature.   "Young Lady Treloar," Mister Kellner walked towards her. "I already wondered where you was. I have brought some clothes and your weapons towards your room," she gave the older gentleman a smile. "I have heard that Lord Terence gave you the room, so are there any changes you want to make. You do not have to decide on it right away."   "Ecxtully," she said, and started to list off all the things she wanted to change and to add. "Only if it is posible, of course." She asked. He nodded slightly.   "I will see what can be done. The vases and flowers are an easy fix, the bedding would be too. The rest will become a bit difficult, but we will do our best. But for now, I will warn the cook that you are awake and want some breakfast. The same as last time?" He asked. She answered him with nod, he bowed his head and walked towards the direction of the kitchen. She on the other hand went towards her room, and started to change into her normal clothing. It was strange to wear a skirt, instead of a pair of pants. Her breakfast was already served, tea was steaming in the cup. The smell of forest berries and bacon, tickled her noise.   *****   The soft morning breeze. really woke her up. More then a cup of forest berrie tea, ever would. Her sword in the scabard, and her bow was hanging on her back. She had a job at the end of the week, and she needed to be ready for it. Really ready, not like her stumbling into a goblin camp ready. Which she still was cursing herself for, she had fought goblins numberes times. So why was she so off guard, when she faced them alone. She couldn't blame the new bow and her two month bed rest to everything. And there was the posibility that Emrys would be coming along, something that she dreaded. Audery knew that he was a skilled fighter, she had seen that much during the fight in the dinner hall. And their little practice round before that, but how was his knowledge, how was his skills beyond handeling the sword? That were qeustions, who she didn't want to be answered in the middle of a job. Maybe it would be better to leave him behind for this one, and see how things play out when they train, after the job. It would be a bitter potion for him to swallow, but it was to keep him and her safe. Emrys was already at the training ground, sparring with Russel.   "Good morning to you, cousin Audery." Russel said. "Are you going to join us?" She wanted to say no, there was no doubt in her mind that she might hurt the man. Which will reflect badly on her, no matter how it happened. There are no witnesses around, other then Emrys. Who was the younger brother, of a Lord that was already under great supperstision. But then her eyes fall upon the wooden swords they were holding, she was able to spare with Russel without the fear of hurting him.   "Here take my sword, partner. I am going to water the trees," Emrys said. Which was to much information, but she took his sword and swallowed her words. Russel took a stance and they danced around each other, dealing out one blow after another. Blocking them when posible, he was a skilled swords man. Which was no surprise, all men in that level of sociaty needed to learn how to handle a sword. A skill that would also be usefull to the ladies in the same level, in her honest opinion.    "You are pretty good," Russel said, whipping the pearls of sweat from his forehead. He might be a skilled sword fighter, but he needed to work on much more to hold his own in a battle. Which he would probably never face, now that she thought about it.   "Thank you, your Highness. The praise is much apriciated, coming from you." She replied. He rolled with his eyes, and then he chuckled.   "Please, cousin. I have heard that you are a straight for ward woman. So please, do not watch your words with me." Russel said, the grin was still on his face. Alright he wanted straight forward, he was going to get it.   "Alright then, your swordmanship is from the highest level. But your stamina needs some extra work, you would not be of much us during one when you need to catch your breath every 10 minutes. You would either left behind, or being killed. There is no way between that. Also the next time your father drags you to a city, to deal with some pain in the butt Lords, it would be better if you stayed at his side and learn how to deal with those back stabbers. You might need those skills, no, not might. You need those skills when you take your father's place," she said, and he nodded slowly.   "There you are, the woman I heard so much about. The girl that can not be handled by a normal man, because of her unrully nature, and strong mind." He lowered the wooden sword. "Extually the whole reason why my father brought me here was that I would have the change to propose to you." Her eyes grew wide, wait what? He is here to propose? From all the girls, high born girls. They wanted her to be his wife, and future queen. She wondered what kind of life that would be, and it made her skin crawl. After all those years, being free from her mother, the rules that pushed inside a box. She couldn't imaging to ever go back to that kind of life.   "Russel, I know that I should be flattered and a lot of girls would have jumped in joy. But I am not like those girls," she said. Emrys and the King appeared on the training field, just behind Russel and she knew that the King would be curisous to her reply and the reason behind it. "Let me ask you something. Picture in your mind a beautiful stallion, wild, free, head strong. You want that to be your horse, you want it so badly. But you do not know why. You catch it, tame it, but then discover the reason why you were drawn towards the stallion in the first place. It was the wildness of that animal, the thing that you were not able to controle and what went lost during the taming. I am that stallion, I am wild and free. You might think that you can push me into a curtain box, even breaking me to do so. But then you will lose the expact what drew you in. I know that I wouldn't be a good queen, I would have being before all of this. But now that I have tasted the freedom," Russel nodded slowly. "I do not know why, but there is something about Spheros that feels like home to me. Here there is no curtain box, that I need to fit in. Here I am free, I am not ready to leave this city. Not yet, maybe in the future, who knows." Russel chuckles and shakes his head.   "I know for a fact that you might leave, but you will always come back. I have seen the looks you share with Lord Mildenhall, and I knew right then, that I wouldn't have any chance. But it was worth the try, but that was a fine example." He said. "It is rare, for the likes of us, to find love like that. Normally our hands are being used to gain power, money or strenghting the bloodline. Yes, we might find some effection. But most of the time that is it. I am happy for you that you have found it. And I hope that one day, I might find a girl to share the same type of connection. But I highly doubt it." She nodded, knowing that he spoke the truth. In their world love was seeing as a fleeting and foolish emotion, only there was one problem. She no longer belonged to that world, she had ran away from it and created her own world. A world were she can love a Lord, but still be herself. Not because he allowed her, but she wouldn't allow him to dictate her live. And there would be ... to pay if he tried. Russel turned around and was visibly shocked to see his father behind him. "Father, I... I..."   "There is nothing you can say, or do to change the out come. I heard everything and I agree with the both of you. It was a fantasy that played in my mind. The daughter of my beloved cousin, marrying mine son. But live happened, I lost my beloved cousin. His daughter was sold, and then ran off. I should have known that after all these years, that there would be a chance that you turn up with a man on your arm. And that was what happened, Lord Mildenhall is a good man and he will do right by you. He will let you go, and wait for you until you come back. And like Russel said, I am happy for you. And I know that your father would be happy for you too." The King said, tears appeared inside his eyes. "Patrick, there are no words that can describe how much I miss him. And I know that Audery feels the same way," she nodded, she indeed those. Her father was the only one who understood her, allowed her to speak her mind. When they were behind closed doors. He was one of the few that didn't care about her, not being a son. "But now it is time for me to take my son, and teach him a lesson." Russel's shoulders hung and he lowered his head.   "Is this about me ditching the city gaurd?" Russel asked. The King nodded and the two walked off. Emrys appeared besides her.   "So, you and my brother. Well you two didn't take that long, I was betting with some servents that you two would dance around each other for a couple more weeks." Emrys said. "Ach, what. I heard that you landed us a job. So, when do we leave?" She looked at him and narrowed her eyes. The servants and he made a bet? Who else was in on it? This only strenghting her thoughts about doing this job alone.    "There is no we, I am going to do this job." She snapped at him, his mouth fall open. And then all Hiubin broke loose.

Cover image: by KELLEPICS


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