Tweet of the Day: Supper Stalker
“And that’s why unicorns love maidens!” said Lyandra with smirk on her elvish face.
Galatea, Master Alexander’s first wife, stifled a laugh with her hand. “I don’t get it,” said her son, named after his father.
“Nor should you, Alex, not at your age,” I said.
Lysandra pouted, “Spoil sport.”
We merged with the crowds entering the Capitol of Windstrom, Kingdom of the North. Grizzle snap and growled, opening a way for us. “What’s going on Sir Jonah?”
I hoisted him on Valiant’s back, “Spring festival, celebrating the end of a long winter and the start of planting.”
“Ooh! I love festivals. Especially human festivals, they are so colorful,” said Lysandra.
“Then I hope this one does not disappoint you, my Lady,” I said.
“How many times have I told you not to call me that?” she said.
“Are all elves this improper?” I replied.
“No, just me! I’m adorable that way,” she said.
I got hold of a guard who promptly guided Galatea to the Covenant of the Sisters of Mercy, “Don’t worry Alex, I’ll see you soon,” she said.
Silent tears streaked down the youngster’s cheeks. I climbed back on the horse, “Don’t worry Master Alexander, Dumwold Keep is just three days ride from the capital. You will see her soon enough after you’re both settled in.”
We came to a stop behind a crowd lining the King’s Road. Before us paraded the Royal House Heavy Horse, the King’s own bodyguard. Pennants fluttered at the end of bronze tipped lances. Behind them the royal carriage, gilded in silver and gold. As it crossed in front of us, shadows descended upon it and the guard. Long dagger like fingers sliced through a horse and rider. Pandemonium exploded as horses stampeded and the crowds panicked. Another attacker landed on the carriage’s driver seat, driving it’s left claw under the man cuirass. He toppled over. Without the driver to reign them in, the horse sped down the road in panic.
I wrapped a arm around Alexander and kicked Valiant into a full gallop, “HOLD ON!”
More attackers hacked at the top of the carriage. I slashed at one of them. Slick green ichor poured from the wound. It fell down as it lost it footing. “Whatever happens, hold on to the reigns, okay?” I said to Alexander. He nodded. I jumped from Valiant’s back to the carriage seat. I managed to hang on to the edge with my left hand, swinging my sword wildly to keep the beast perched there at bay. A streak of silver hit it on the neck and sent it tumbling down. Somehow Lyandra had managed to keep up with us running through the rooftops. Once on the seat, I climbed up to face the last attacker. It looked at me with hollowed yes and a long tongue dripping with slime. It screamed pain as one of the passengers rammed a dagger through it’s left foot. “By the Seven, meet thy justice, fiend!” My sword hacked at the thing’s knee, slicing it off. The rest of it fell down. Then I managed to take hold of the horse’s reigns and steer them to the King’s castle.
Guards lined the parapets with bows drawn at me. The other members of the King’s guard, with Alexander and Valiant among them rushed pass the gates. A voice from upon high called out, “Drop your sword and step away from the carriage.” Not wanting to end up with a dozen arrows in me, I did as ordered. Guards came forward with manacles.
“Stop!” said a voice behind me. “Richard, we are safe,” said the King, dagger in hand, as he stepped down from the carriage.
Prince Richard, the youngest of Kings Stephenson children, embraced his father, “Thank the Seven. The guards saw a commotion down the road but did not know what it was.”
“Assassins, I’m afraid, but they failed, thanks in to this young knight,” Stephenson pointed at me.
I knelled before him, “I am one of your majesties loyal Paladins.”
“Rise. One can not answer honestly while staring at the ground. So does our Paladin have a name?”
“Jonah, your Highness.”
“I see, and what brings you to Windstrom?”
My explanation was interrupted by a call from one of the gate guards, “Your Highness, an elf maiden waits by the gate and says she is a friend of Sir Jonah.”
“Is she?” asked the king.
I shouted back, “Red hair and golden eyes?”
“Yes, she is with me,” I said.
The moment the front gate open, Grizzle dash to one of the water buckets for the horses and pushed his snout as far as it would go. “He bit down on a few of those revenants. His face got all foamy for awhile,” said Lysandra with bow to the king.
“Interesting friends you have, Sir Jonah. I hope all of you will join us at the ball tonight?”
“But father, you can’t be serious? A ball, after this?” said Richard with a white knuckle grip on his sword pummel.
“We will not be intimidated, either by the living or the dead. Is that understood?” said the king in a soft voice.
The prince’s defiance collapsed at the king’s words. He nodded and let us inside the castle proper.
We prepared for the ball. Alexander ended up in the kitchens, surrounded by serving girls who poked him and stretched his cheeks whenever he passed. “Cute! I going to be a knight, not a bunny!” he screamed so loud that it reached the hall during supper, to the amusement of the king’s guest.
After dinner I bathed and changed into something more appropriate. On my way to the palace gardens, I met with with Lyandra. She wore a long gown that matched her crimson hair. She offered her hand, “A lady needs a champion or at least an escort, does she not?”
“I thought you were not a lady?”
She winked, “Tonight I am, but only for tonight.”
We danced among the rose blossoms. She even sang as fireworks filled the nigh sky. For a moment I held her, intoxicated by the flowery fragrance that flowed from her hair. But I held back and bowed. I knew nothing about this whimsical creature.
Patience is the heart of Virtue.
I bowed and kissed her hand, “Good night my Lady.”
She frowned for a second, but then smiled, “Courageous and gallant. If only we had more time,” she said as she walked back to the castle. I only wished I knew what she meant by that.