The Elori – Part III

DAY 1: Hey everyone! As of today, I’m officially going to be involved in a blog war with two of my good friends, Abby and John. If you want to keep updated on the goings-on in their blogs, you can check them out here:

http://www.fabbylous.wordpress.com

http://www.placethetitlehere.blogspot.com

Wish me luck!

In Christ,

Ryan

______________________________________

This time, Kilgalan obeyed. The newly christened Marthadok eyed the obstinate boy warily as he passed into the hovel. The stoic man, after taking one last quick survey of his surroundings, retired with a quick step into his humble abode.

Kilgalan entered into a dilapidated half-vestibule with torn up floor boards, two oblique shelves set upon either side of the entryway, a tattered, besmirched rug which read, through the grime, “Welcome!”, and a certain ineffable gloom about the place that gave the boy an uneasy feeling. As he started forward, he felt the floor beneath him creak and groan, like the hovel rested upon some terrible giant ready to awaken at any given moment. Indeed, the whole place seemed to have a throb to it, as if some corrupt heart palpitated in the very air of the place itself. To make matters worse, Kilgalan tripped on something as he walked, stumbled to the floor, and after coughing away the dust, raised his eyes and saw himself staring straight into the mouth of some feral mongrel. The beast, bearing its wicked fangs, ran with a passion towards Kilgalan, its beady eyes focused solely upon its quarry. Kilgalan scrambled backwards, bumped into a wall, shot upwards, and tried to distance himself from the persistent dog.

“Heel!” Marthadok cried. “Heel, Berm, heel!”

The dog, though looking disappointed, fell back on its bum and sat there, wagging its tale and inclining its head towards its master. Marthadok pet the canine and said, “Explore this evening, mutt. We have company, and Kilgalan is akin to a frightened girl. You wouldn’t want to scare her, would you?”

Kilgalan cast an incensed look upon the impertinent man and grunted.

Berm, seemingly nodding to assure Marthadok that he remained ever obedient, sprinted out the door and disappeared into the misty gloom of the night. When Marthadok had closed the door, barred it, and removed his cloak and shoes, Kilgalan sighed and said, “That was rather undue. First you damage my brain and make me a container for the location of some ancient weapon, and now you call me a girl! What compels you, Marthadok?”

Marthadok grinned and started a fire, stoking it for awhile until it burned gloomily in the dismal hovel. “It’s a compliment, you know. I’ve known plenty of women braver than you are and ever will be. Don’t assume that the attribution of a woman’s traits, courage and virtues to a man is a slighting thing. We can learn much from them, and they us. The key is to be open minded.”

“Where did that come from?” Kilgalan said, taking a seat in one of the creaky chairs next to the burgeoning fire.

“What?”

“Such wisdom. I didn’t know your kind had such a knack for giving out apt replies to questions.”

“You flatter me, Kilgalan,” Marthadok replied with a smirk, and took his own seat by the hearth as the fire leapt and danced behind the grating, sparks frolicking amidst the smoke that drifted through the cobblestone chimney.

Kilgalan managed a slight snicker, but a deep and uncomfortable silence followed. All that could be heard was the crackling fire place, the sounds of Berm’s barking in the distance, and the moan of a terrible gale blowing outside the hovel. Marthadok, scanning the hovel as if looking for something, said, “There’ll be a tempest tonight, I reckon. Wind always augurs the worst of weather.”

“I don’t mind the weather. I rather like it, actually.”

This reply did not prove to be conducive to the protraction of the conversation, and there was silence again.

At length, Kilgalan had finally developed a question in his mind, and he put it to Marthadok with an unparalleled eagerness. “Who are the Elori?”

Marthadok closed his eyes and sighed. “I was afraid you’d ask a question like that.”

“Why?”

“They are a private people, keeping to themselves and staying out of others’ business. They prefer to be known by as few souls as possible, for they desire peace and not the tumult of King Varthos’ kingdom. The fewer who know about them, the lest chance they will be drawn into the affairs of “the strangers”, as they call them.”

“I’ve interacted with them before, haven’t I? Shouldn’t I know more about those who infused these memories into my head?”

Without knowing it, Kilgalan had disarmed Marthadok with a swift and adroit stroke. The man, closing his eyes and shaking his head, as a man who has run dry of potential alternatives, replied, “You shall learn about the Elori, in time. But for now, you must rest. We have a long journey ahead of us that we must begin at dawn, and with haste. Our scouts have informed us that the enemy is approaching Garthabad Imlor, and that they bring to bear a host of one hundred thousand warriors; the weapon will be more important than ever with this disquieting information.”

“To bed? I’m not tired at all. Being a vagabond and a beggar, I’m up very late at times, and this is very early for me. I don’t think I’ll be able to get to sleep.”

“Then I’ll beat the sleep into you with my hilt, Kilgalan.”

“On second consideration, I think I’ll just repose of my own accord. Good night.”

Marthadok nodded simply, smiling inwardly but betraying no emotion.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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