Chapter 2: (Part 3) The Calling

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By boat in the traveling trail of open waters, they didn't reach port until after dawn a day later. Once they arrived at the docks with a view of nearly all of the city, Valora's happiness slowly faded. It was a beautiful city with even more sophisticated designs of only the greatest architects, sure, but it did not favor her. She remained silent, casually walking to the back of the boat, the cold breeze of the ocean her only comfort to meet her.

"I wonder what's wrong with her." Zoran thought as the birds flew in the distance, the wind blowing through their skin with cold ocean air to hug it.

A stump shook the ship slightly: they docked. The captain led the passengers off the boat, checking each person for illness or forbidden items. Some were arrested by the time they went through the line and into the city. The crowd scattered about after facing the trials before entry, leaving Valora ahead of the others as a guide.

She brought them to the keep in which the king remained. They walked up the ancient, polished, and clean steps to the king's throne room. The king was surprised to see Zoran and Theodren once more. After the many years of separation when they were only mercenaries to fight off the king's problems, they were seen still inferior.

"Over eyru isolation for hundreds of years, you return to me tired and with no task I assigned for you. Had our last departure not been enough?" The king spoke, his voice grasping to the walls and even bringing servants to listen. It held a deep demanding element to it, yet elegant and reasonable.

They both bowed to the king in respect.

"Get up!" The man spoke like he was kicking a wounded soldier to stand.

Zoran looked up, while Carrion remained confused and silent. Valora stayed out of the affair.

"We are honored to once again speak to you, King Malikyr."

"That's a lie. There's no honor in meeting an enemy like this. You've fallen on your knees below me, like a foe facing defeat," The king replied with a somewhat annoyed tone. With a sigh, he continued, "what is it that you need?"

"The great protector of a powerful kingdom, of the Dragon Shores. Although it pains me to admit, we must speak with your steward."

"Pain? A rather conflicting choice of words, boy. He holds nearly as much respect as I," The king responded, as though baffled by Zoran's insolence.

The room fell silent.

"I would bring my servants to meet your needs and get you out of here as quickly as possible, but Aran isn't here. Something about a relative visiting." The king ended, as though he were yawning at whatever intentions they had.

"Is there any way we can meet him, your greatness?" Zoran asked, causing Theodren to roll his eyes beyond the king's notice.

"Shall I summon a dragon for you to ride off on as well? Servants!" The king shouted. All of the servants stopped what they were doing, standing tall and without movement, looking his way in direct focus. "Give them my seal of approval to meet at Aran's gate. Grant a map of how they shall get there."

With haste, the king signed the waiver, and both papers were granted to them. They all looked at the king, and Zoran began to fall on his knees and respond to his mercy, but was interrupted.

"If my steward so much as receives one bloody mark from your arrogance, I shall personally give you a manner of hell that an entire country against you could never compete." The king signaled his servants back to work. "Now begone, and do not return."

With that in mind, they left. They walked down the steps slightly shaken by the fact that a king only five feet tall could be that intimidating. Architecture filled with the designs you would only see in the finest paintings struck around every corner they turned when leaving the palace.

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