Chapter XIII: On To Illum

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Three days passed quickly and without incident. Djar, however, felt a pang of regret at not having Trever with them. His tales and jokes kept things fun and light – even with such a serious undertaking. Now, however, the group had a much more formal tone. Actually, that could have been another, unspoken reason Trever accompanied the Tree Guard – he disdained court and courtly behavior and escaped it whenever he could. Dymorla, Aielronic and Thag mostly kept to themselves, locked away in Aeilronic’s huge travel wagon planning future events. Djar sometimes was a bit put off by this, as he was now the rightful heir to the Duchy of Mahhrain, but mostly he didn’t mind. He was, after all, fairly young and inexperienced in these matters while the others were proven leaders who had been around for who knew how long. 

A bright spot was their little group. Cookie, Zack, Omag and Halk all wanted to make the journey as enjoyable as possible and traveled as close together as they could. The trolls trotted next to the mounted members of the group, incessantly talking. This was also good for Zack. He had quite a bit of learning to do about his new world – especially with the possibility that he may someday rule a good portion of it!

“Djar, could you please join Aeilronic, Thag and myself in the wagon, please?” 

He hadn’t even heard her ride up with all their talking. “Sure,” he said, turning his horse about and riding toward the wagon. A team of twelve large draft horses pulled the enormous covered carriage. All of them were dark brown with snow-white patches of long fur at their feet. The wagon was quite beautiful, painted a forest green and gilded in gold. There were several retainers and six members of the Forest Watch situated on the three ornate benches at the front, middle and toward the back of the wagon. Two in the back jumped down upon small, gold steps attached to the very rear of the wagon, and grabbed the reigns of their horses. They assisted them up and into the rear door, and tethered their horse next to Aeilronic’s and Elras.’

“Greetings, Lord Djar,” called Aeilronic, motioning the young man to sit next to him on the many-pillowed deck. Inside, the wagon was even more beautiful. There was no furniture except for a low table directly in the center. The inhabitants simply sat on the floor on the many large pillows. Several were even big enough to make someone of Thag’s size fairly comfortable. 

“Greetings,” said Djar, bowing deeply before sitting between Thag and Aeilronic. Dymorla sat between the two as well, opposite Djar. “We wanted to let you know what we were planning, being that you have so much at stake. As you have surely figured out, whatever occurs at Illum, we’re planning a concentrated attack either at Fort Durn and in and around Mahhrain.”

“Yes, and I greatly appreciate that you have all sent your people there,” he said. They nodded their heads, welcoming his thanks.

Dymorla continued. “Now this part, you are not aware of. After we’ve either gathered the help of the Waypriests, or they’ve turned us away, we are going to split the party in two. Lord Aeilronic, Chieftain Thag and myself, will accompany Zack to Kaleb’s Claw to deal with Fralgarzener once and for all in Gol-Morda. 

‘You and the rest, will travel back toward Mahhrain and, possibly,  Fort Durn – we don’t know exactly where yet. Hopefully, the Treeguard will have already helped the besieged at the Fort and you can turn your attentions to your home city.  You will be given sealed orders putting you in command of all the various forces, and you are to present them to Ayla and the Treeguard, the Tribesman and the remnants of all the human armies. All will be under your direct control.”

Djar’s eyes widened in surprised.

“I’m sorry for not including you in these talks, but things are changing rapidly. One thing you can count on is that I have watched you closely these past many weeks and believe in your character and leadership ability. I will not fail you if you hold true.”

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