Edit (April 19th) -- I rewrote some of this (mostly the beginning), so if you have read this already, you may wanna look it over again :3
They followed him.
Rowan Marcus hadn't noticed it till that morning, when the sun had hit his eyes and he'd continued the last leg of his journey down to Ancora. It was his first mission from the Order, a religious branch of the Northern army—to guard the mountain fort so the Southern rebellion can not make it through, though he'd no idea how one man could possibly make much of a difference. The fort was just in sight, a small blot of tents and houses, fortifications and stone walls. Little help they did him now.
They were shadows that stalked him, lingering in the brush and trees which bordered the underused path. They made no sound, but he could see them with relative ease in the corner of his eye.
He'd been trained not to believe in old folktales, in lingering shades of a lost time. Yet, he felt inclined to recognize their existence here. They'd been so kind as to not attack him. His horse did not even seem spooked.
Then again, the thing was often rather apathetic.
Still, it was oddly disconcerting—the brief flash of red eyes, the fleeting glance of fluttering wings. They surrounded him, like a pack of wolves, save they were intelligent enough to bide their time. But for what?
He shook his head. They were just tricks of the light, symptoms of traveling alone for far too long. The Mons, the mountain range in which Ancora was located were pale and majestic in the sky. It separated, roughly, the two major segments Caestra was divided into—not counting the already fragmented states of both sides. It was only for two rivers which cut through the mountains which allowed any passage from one end to another—from the warm, golden North to the barren South.
The wind whistled teasingly in his ears. He missed the feather-soft breezes of his home, a small region nicknamed the Ashlands for its dark beaches and its bone-white flora. The gurgling of Ancora's rivers sounded harsh compared to the rhythmic shores.
The underbrush rustled at some point before him. He pulled the reins short, hand already to the knife at his belt. He regretted the fact that his bow was still strapped with the rest of his packs.
“Reveal yourself!” he called out, glaring at the shadows of the forest. “I'm getting damn tired of being followed.”
However, what emerged from the forest was not some dark, creature of fantasy. The underbrush parted in a cacophony of dry rustles, revealing a short rider atop a white and black horse. He dropped his makeshift, woven reins, deft hands in the air in an age old show of submission.
"Marcus!" he exclaimed, his youthful, warm-eyed face breaking into a crooked smile and the fur of his mount seemed to glisten in the pale, white light of the setting, southern sun. The expression was surprisingly familiar--the man in front of him was known as Elrin. Rowan had last seen him when they'd both been pulled into the army, by means of a mandatory draft when the rebellion, led by Talen Balthazar, made its first appearances. The child, as he was then, had been a friend of Rowan's younger brother.
He continued, still beaming, "I heard the dusty, ol' Order stationed you here, but I never expected you'd arrive so soon! Gotten a taste for our local ghouls?
Rowan smiled slightly, trying to shake away his unease. “Ghouls, El? I thought better of you.”
"All high and mighty, are you know?" he asked, sniffing. "I thought your knighting was rather recent." He glanced at Rowan's glinting broach with proud eyes, though it was only simple steel which the Order allowed the newest in their ranks, shaped in the image of crossed swords.
"It was," Rowan confirmed, falling into pace beside his friend, "and they've already gone to the effort to get rid of me. But ghouls?”
“A story for another time,” he confirmed. Rowan rolled his eyes, but gratefully changed the subject:
What are you doing out here then? I heard you were promoted to officer.”
“I find acting as the outrider proves... enriching,” he said. “But mostly I think it's because I want to get out of Ancora everyone and awhile. The place doesn't know if it's city or fort. Besides, sometimes I find interesting wanders—like you here.”
|Joel Gretsch||as Sir Rowan Marcus|
|Laura Vandervoort||as Aviana Lark|
|Henry Ian Cusick||as Dorian|
|Joshua Malina||as Gaius de Iulian|
|Emily Dorsch||as Marecleia de Iulian|
|Morena Baccarin||as Claudia de Ven|
|Cillian Murphy||as Warlord Talen Balthazar|
|Michael Sheen||as Lafayette Vecci|
|Undecided||as Veronica Vecci|
|Tom Hiddleston||as Archmage Quirinus|
|Dagmara Dominczyk||as Mordian Vecci|
|Timothy Dalton||as Lord Sieran Athanas|