The door to the study creaks open, drawing Galan's attention to the face sticking in through the gap. A sullen, serious pout replaces the usual sneer on Sion's dark features, likely having something to do with his incredible black eye. The yellows and purples contrast violently against his darker skin.
"Sire, Lord Hathan requests a moment of your time."
The nerve! Hathan simply shows up and expects to be seen without an appointment.
The King schools his expression against the disdainful contortion of his features. Galan can't ignore Lord Hathan's request. His line traces back to the time of Grantham Greythorn and he's a senior member of the council.
"Tell Hathan I'll see him shortly." Sion acknowledges the request and closes the door.
Galan returns to the interrupted report containing the progress of their guest. The information, though detailed, is dreadfully dry. It's amazing he's still awake after reading it. Fox is not one to embellish his work with prose or compliments, nor does he wax eloquent with his mighty pen. Though one may certainly jump to this conclusion if they cast a stray glance at the document. The good General has the handwriting of a master scribe, his flowing script transforming each word, no each letter, into a poetic rendition of a flower. The entire report is a beautiful garden meant to attract the eye and detract outside attention from the message it contains. Galan hates the beautiful scrawl, whose quality surpasses his own spidery script.
This Daystorm, the marked woman, gains support in the form of young students. Public attitude towards her shifts from open hostility to curiosity. Her training progresses in leaps and bounds, proving, at least to Galan, she is indeed a champion of the Gods.
A side note mentions Sion poking his nose about the training grounds again. The black eye is likely well deserved.
What fascinates Galan is the woman's growing skill set: a close combat fighter with an offensive gift and a flight speed rivalling the good General. The glimmer of curiosity sprouts within. Perhaps it's time to personally observe her training, in the name of public safety of course. He's free this afternoon. The report states she works with a group of trainees during this time frame.
"Yes, I believe I'll satisfy my curiosity."
Galan leans back and studies the familiar walls of his office. No tapestries adorn their surfaces, no fantastic images or vain self-portraits. The only artwork allowed to hang on the wooden surfaces are maps, some of them archaic. The delicate parchment, carefully preserved in frames of glass, depict the ancient borders of the realms. In those days, other races graced the surface of Caliah. War comes at a high cost and one no longer witnesses centaurs roaming the open fields of Odensbriar or ice pixies flitting about the northern regions.
Other maps are more recent, such as the one depicting the locations of cities and villages hidden within his realm of Argentgrove. The villages sprawled along the border now paying homage to Greythorn were added by hand over the years.
The largest, and by far his favorite, is a map of the known world bestowed upon the rulers of each civilized realm. The elves, dwarves, and dragons, among others, own exact replicas constructed years ago by a group of wyvern - small dragon-like beings specializing in cartography. An odd skill for the creatures to possess, but useful.
Three half-bookshelves line the walls filled journals written by past monarchs of Greythorn side by side with tomes on laws and policies and a book or two on poetry for good measure. Books hold little interest to him.
Galan much prefers what lies above the books. Expertly carved statues of fantastic creatures line the top of the shelves, each measuring no more than a foot. Some real while others might have existed at one point in time. He appreciates the craftsmanship. The wood-carver breathed life into the likeness of goblins, trolls, and mermaids. The extinct centaur intrigues him, a man's body pasted onto a fictional equine animal. He often wonders if the hybrid occurred naturally or if they were the by-product of some deranged mage's experiments. The centaur holds an arrow poised at the ready on a long bow. A shaggy mane surrounds its squat face. It's a fearsome creature indeed, yet was unable to survive the wrath of time.
YOU ARE READING
The Paths of GreythornFantasy
The dream paths, accessed by a chosen few, reveal the most likely future following any given choice. Unfortunately for the human dreamwalker Daystorm, the decisions made by the fairies of Greythorn make her long for the simpler days of sweat-induced...