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A Vow of Silence Part 1

by Arenborne on Nov 15, 2016 at 11:03 PM}
Sir Elmir began to slow his steed, the large brown destrier coming to a halt. “We ought to stop here for the night.” The older man stated as he surveys the area. Not far from the road were some large boulders forming a crescent, lots of shelter should the weather turn. Currently, the sky was cloudless, a painting of dark blues with oranges and reds to the west as the sun disappears over the horizon.

“Of course sir,” came the response from Arenborn. The dark-haired squire guides his own horse, Tarphal off the road after his master. “What is the plan for the evening?” Arenborn was eager for more training; he was to be knighted soon, after they had returned to Pelargir from their travels. Aren believed himself to be ready, and was certain his master did as well, but he believed life was about learning bettering oneself and so was always ready for more training. Often he could be found in the family library reading about the history of Arda, sometimes drawing his favourite scenes, or maybe in the field having found a fellow squire or city watchman to train with. In the next couple of weeks, he would turn of age having seen twenty-one summers, and would be deemed fit to be a knight and legally allowed to joust in a tournament. He struggled to wait.

“We’ll set up camp,” came the reply, “then you can continue learning your oath. I know it’s a few weeks away, but the more you learn now the less likely you’ll make a mistake on the day.” Elmir slipped easily from his saddle, dust forming clouds around his feet when he lands with a thud. “Secure the horses and get a fire going please Aren.” The knight settles against a rock, laying his bedroll out before settling on it to give his long sword a polish. As he does this Aren goes about hobbling the two horse in a grassy area so they can eat something. Behind his saddle, is a small pile of sticks and twigs, and in the saddle bag is his tinder box. Collecting them all he goes about building a fire.

“Not long now till you stop having to do all this for me. Maybe even get your own squire.” Elmir notes as he runs a whet stone along his blade.

“Aye, but I’ll miss you Sir. Like I would miss my father.”

“I’ll miss you too lad, you’re as good a squire as they come.” The pair fall silent for a moment as Aren gets a flame going, adding more sticks to the fire to keep it growing.

“I’ll go get more wood if we are to get any decent warmth tonight.” He says to Elmir, who looks up from his sword with a smirk.

“Hurry back then, I know what you’re like.”

Arenborn chuckles, unable to stop the grin forming on his face as he makes his way into the woods the other side of the road. A twig snaps beneath his leather boot as he wanders through the trees, looking up at the sky through gaps in the canopy above, watching the first star’s wink into the sky. Arenborn takes a while to listen to the world around him. Birds chirp in the distance and a gentle breeze rustles through the trees. Arenborn always loved collecting wood, it was his favourite chore while travelling. It let him wander through the woods enjoying the world for what it is in its purest form.

Drrrrr… Drrrrr… A woodpecker drills somewhere to his right and he looks for the source, keeping quiet as he tries to spot the bird. Clang. He freezes, that was back at their camp. Clang. Yet again, that was the sound of swords clashing. Then a shout. “For Pelargir!” That was unmistakably Elmir.

The woodpecker shoots from within a bush as Arenborn drops the few logs he was carrying. He shrugs the sheath of his longsword from his shoulder, drawing the two-handed weapon before pulling the empty scabbard over his shoulder again. Running towards the sounds of fighting, the clangs get louder and louder. He races between the trees and crashes through a bush, but in the dark, he hadn’t seen the log behind it. Arenborn hits the dirt with a thump. Cursing, he pushes himself from the ground only to feel cold steel against his neck. The hand holding the blade tremors, the blade accidentally nicking Aren’s throat. “Right… I’m dropping the weapon now… I’m putting it down let’s just talk about this. You don’t need to kill me, just let me go.” He talks to his unknown assailant as he places down his sword for it to be hastily kicked away. There is no response, but when he mentions killing the hand shakes a little more vigorously. “You can have my money, just let me go.”

“HAR!” Comes a sudden laugh from ahead of him. A large silhouette emerges from the trees. “Pleading fer ‘is life like a fecking woman.” The man sneers. In the moment of silence that follows, Aren can no longer hear fighting coming from the camp and more figures emerge from the shadows.

“If you have killed my master so be it. But you have everything you could want now; I see no reason for you to kill me as well.” Aren states calmly, trying to think of how he could fight his way out if it came to it.

“No. We fucking don’t. Yer master manage to cut loose yer horses before we got to ‘im. They were worth a fair few pretty pennies weren’t they.” The man looms above him and Aren can make out his features. The man wore the drab, unflattering clothes of a peasant, with a few pieces of boiled leather and steel armour. He had a thick face with an offset nose and thin, greying hair. “So we fancy killing ya t’ make amends.”

“Al!” The brigand barks. His man with a blade to Aren’s throat jumps to attention.

“Yes boss?” Comes the reply. He can’t have been older then twelve with a voice that high pitched.

“Time t’ prove yer worth if ye want t’ join us proper. Kill this noble fucker an’ let’s sod off.”

“Sir.” Comes the nervous reply. The dagger in the boy’s hand shakes violently now as he steels himself. However, before his execution Aren digs his elbow backwards into the lad’s abdomen causing him to reel away. The squire darts forward, punching the leader of the brigands between the legs, bringing his knee up to meet the man’s face as he doubles over. Aren leaps, trying to reach his sword when a club collides with the side of his head and sends him sprawling. He grunts as he hits a tree and tries to stagger up as stars float about his eyes.

He is however, too late. As the brigands’ leader roars at them to kill him Aren watches the hazy outline of a young boy approach him. The boy’s arm swings, and blood sprays from Aren’s neck. He collapses to the floor his hand coming to his throat to feel the slick dark fluid pouring from the wound. His last thoughts are of the boy. Why was he with the brigands? What forced him to stay with them? How did he feel about killing a man? He falls still with these thoughts on his mind as he passes out from the severe pain, his world turning to darkness and nothingness.
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