(6) Vazguerd

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         The way to Vazguerd was one of many, deeper into the forest near Calarant we hiked for a while, the sound of swords crossing and arrows firing became more clear as we reached outside of Calarant, the chariot would be of no use since the streets were no longer here, so we took the horses, my mother was pretty skilled at riding horses, and I saw that’s where I obviously earned the knac. Aria shyly admitted she didn’t know who to ride one, so my mother insisted she ride with me. Before I could protest, my mother winked at me, and I turned a darker crimson than Aria’s dress.

 As she held on to my waist, I imagined myself redder than an overripe tomato, “Hold on, because Vazguerd is pretty far from here, and we need to make it fast!”

“Obviously,” Aria said, averting her eyes from me, sensing she was turning red too, “Are you sure I can’t ride with you, Lady Crystaine?”

“I’m sorry,” Crystaine smirked, “but you’d best ride with Pentus, my dress is too big and there’s not enough space on the saddle-”

“Mom,” i said irritated, “We have to go now!”

“Always in such a rush,” my mother scolded, she signaled to the horse and off we sped. Everything was a blur, the trees seemed as if they were running away, the roots twisted into arcs made for tripping the unaware, but the horse easily stomped on it, his heavy hooves working overtime, the horse sped through the Dark Forest as fast as it could. It maneuvered around the thick, tall trees surprisingly better than I anticipated.

After a while, we stopped. Crystaine dismounted her horse, followed by me dismounting my horse, i helped Aria get off. I looked around we in the heart of the forest.

   “Uh. . . where’s the boulder again,” I asked.

 My mother looked around, we were in a clearing, dead leaves and broken twigs, branches, and other stuff littered the ground. Boulders and rocks of all sizes were scatter around.

 “The one with the red symbol,” my mother answered. We scavenged and looked around for a boulder, if my memory served right, there was a boulder the size of a basketball, a tiny red symbol was emblazoned on it’s side, lifting the boulder would cause a secret pass to open leading to Vazguerd where we tell the armies and off they go to join the fight. We defeat the Empire’s army, and worry the fate of the assassin, and Tesulan.

 “Found it,” Aria yelled triumphantly. I looked over and saw Aria smiling proudly as she displayed the large boulder, sure enough I noticed the tiny red symbol.

“Great work. Now lift it,” I said.

 Me and my mother went over to help her flip the large boulder aside. As soon as it flipped over, we heard a tiny click then the sound of rusty metal gears turning. The earth rumbled and slowly as the earth shook, the ground rumbled and slowly sank deeper. When it stopped it revealed a hidden staircase.

 “Wah,” Aria said baffled, “Vazguerd’s hidden underground! No wonder the Empire hasn’t been able to find it!”

 “It’s all thanks to the dwarves and Kulnars,” I said, “they helped construct and build the tunnels throughout Astrania. We’re taking a huge risk by making it all over the world so we may be vulnerable to many attacks, but then again we take a huge advantage, with these tunnels we’re able to receive messages much quicker, send out reinforcements faster, and travel a lot easier. Only the truly trusted people have knowledge of where these tunnels are located. Thankfully Velgar didn’t find out when he searched my mind last time. Because my memories were still a little clouded at the time.”

 “Come on, let’s go you two lovebirds,” my mom taunted, and we both followed her, the staircase looped around for some time, as soon as we stepped in the passageway shut close.

  

 Eventually we reached the end of the staircase, my legs tired from pounding all the way down. Aria breathed heavily, and my mother looked like she was ready to fall over from exhaustion.

  Yet, we had no time, I ran through the hallway, everything was a blur past me, I maneuvered my way through the city. Yes, an underground city, actually it was more of a camp but that was the least of my worries.

  I ran past some soldiers, who yelled insults as a broke through, I kicked the door open, leading to the main camp, where the Leader’s advisor’ stood chatting.

 “While you guys are eating crumpets and drinking tea, my father is out there fighting for his life! Quick, send some reinforcements,” I yelled.

 Nathan, the advisor dropped his mug, “It’s mead not tea, and what on earth is going on!”

“Send. The. Reinforcements,” I yelled. Nathan shook his head, “Yes, I shall do that right away! In the meantime keep yourself busy, if your thirsty, there’s more mead in the back. Just, er, don’t tell your mother it was me who gave it to you.”

 I nodded and Nathan left the room, a bright Lantern hung in the room, the room was large enough to fit a hundred people. The floor turned to stone, and a comfortable armchair stood behind a large wooden desk. I waited for a while with no other choice I reluctantly walked to the barrel in the backroom, I lifted the crowbar beside it and popped open the cap, it rolled off and fell somewhere underneath the desk, I ignored it and poured the heavy beverage into a clean mug beside the barrel.

  The strong alcohol, burned a path through my lungs, I yelped as the burning liquid burned as it found it’s way to my stomach. The aftertaste made my mouth feel like I swallowed a fireball.

 The tent flap opened and Almar came in. I dropped the mug to the floor, similar to the place where Nathan dropped his.

 “Almar,” I yelled, I couldn’t tell if it was with joy or shock.

Almar had a sad expression on his face, “I’ve heard. . .  . that my brother is going to assassinate you.”

My eyes widened, “Who-”

 “Who else,” Almar forced a bitter laugh, “your father knows who I am, he is a clever man, indeed. I can slip nothing past him. But. . . I want to be by your side at all costs, Akranhor will flee if he sees me by your side. And remember what I told you? Akranhor is my problem. . . my issue that I must deal with! So please, let me deal with him!”

 I sighed and sat in the armchair. “We’ll we aren’t going to get anywhere by just sitting around. We could either wait for Akranhor to come to us. .  . or come to Akranhor.”

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