tagSci-Fi & FantasyRecollections Ch. 01

Recollections Ch. 01

byB_E_White©

This is my first try at creative writing, so constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. While there are no erotic scenes in this chapter, do not worry, they will come along.

*****

It had been a number of seasons since the winter had been so mild in K'launor valley. The merchant houses had swiftly taken action to get their wares across the mountain range which was nearly impassable during the coldest times of the year. Every ten to twenty miles there were caravans nestled together for protection and to give rest to the draft animals. Travelers had no difficulties in gaining passage or work with a caravan if they were willing to either empty their purses, or work as guards.

"We should make good time brother; the horses are young and fresh. Plus, the wind is at our back." Morlek the merchant had been an obvious choice for Klu'xsa-Mren. The man obviously enjoyed life, this was reflected in his girth as his clothing always seemed ready to burst at the seems. But he had a way of treating his employees as if he was the one protecting them and not the other way around.

"I already told you Morlek, I'm no brother. In blood or in faith."

This made the merchant look at the new addition to his caravan with a crooked eye. The man obviously had no money by the way he was dressed. A Simple commoner's garb was his only clothing, at least until a few days ago when Morlek had bought him some furs for the journey. Even in his situation, Tarlen's physique looked as if he followed a rigorous training schedule, every muscle on the man's body were so defined; it was as if the man was a statue that suddenly came to life. The young man obviously had blood of the west. His skin was more tanned then any individual from the region, his nose slightly broader than usual, and the darkness of his brows, hair and unshaven face was the last signs.

'But he has the brow of a Rimurian, that is not mistakable, the squareness of his jaw as well.' On their first meeting, he had thought that he could have been a monastic monk, but he quickly dismissed this idea, as he had none of the elaborate body markings, or shaved head that were associated with the Brothers of Zklaren. He had only asked for food and shelter as payment which suited the merchant just fine.

"What should I call you then? I won't be calling you by that strange name. It hurts me to even think about it."

"If you have too, call me Tarlen".

With that comment, the merchant nodded his head and the conversation came to an end.

Morlek was a simple man; it didn't take long for Tarlen to choose him as the caravan merchant he would accompany along the passage. His easy going nature could be spotted in short time for anyone that paid attention. By the state of his caravan, the merchant obviously needed the extra help at low cost. Having failed on previous ventures, he was trying to establish trade in exotic housewares from the western kingdom of Hlanem.

He knew that Morlek also dealt in other lucrative exports that weren't of the simple or legal sort, but the merchant didn't openly admit that he sold the drugs in which was only grown and available in the same kingdom. But even so the man's generosity was reflected in his size. Having being recently separated from his toira, Tarlen needed passage across the valley and the merchant seemed the best choice.

'It's been over ten years, but it's hardly changed. '

*****

"Tarl! Stop daydreaming and come here."

At hearing his father's commanding voice, the young boy stopped looking at how the snowflakes were dancing in the wind on the path ahead of them and ran towards his father at the head of the caravan. Normally at this time of the year, Tarl would be at home spending the winter with his father in their small hovel, but due to the tempering of the weather, his father had found employment with a wealthy caravan merchant who was willing to chance the passage to sell his wares across the valley. Since as early he could remember Tarl idolized his father, he was a man that said very little but when he spoke his words had weight and wisdom behind them. Looking at his father, he realized that he must have taken most of his features from is mother. While his father had strong facial features, with a brow and jaw that seemed to come out directly from his face and with the accompanied traditional thick dirty blond long beard and mane of the Rimurians, Tarl on the other hand had midnight black hair. His facial features were much softer, it seemed as if they blended in to each other, as opposed to coming out like his father's.

He never got to know his mother, his father said that she had been killed by a Slaurian raid party months after his birth.

"Go on and look at how the horses are doing. Our generous employer is pushing the caravan too hard to get his wares across."

The young boy started the routine that he had come accustomed to in the past week, it gave him a sense of importance and that he was not only extra weight for his father. Even at his age, Tarl noticed the hint of disgust in his father's voice. His father had told the merchant that the weather would hold until their return trip, but the Al'albinian still pressed the caravan until the horses couldn't go on and men fell asleep at the saddle.

Checking on the horses, he saw early signs of weariness in their breath and movements but decided not to mention them as he usually did; he already knew that it would only irritate his father even more.

"They're fine father, they spotted mare at the end seems to be doing much better than yesterday."

The older man smiled and did a slight nod of his head.

"Tell me Tarl, how do you know this?"

The boy tilted his head downward in concentration.

'I know she's better, I could just tell by looking at her. But how do I explain it.'

Johannes noted how his son was concentrating on answering him. He already knew that the mare was better. He had reapplied poultice to her injured leg this morning.

'He knows it, but doesn't know why. That's good. He just has to find a way to explain to people who can't see it.'

"It's because...she seems to take longer strides and doesn't twitch as much on her injured leg?"

"That's good my son, but try to note these things as they happen. Time tends to wash away our mind."

"I will father."

'Those eyes, they remind me so much of his mother. She would be so proud of him, if she could only see him.'

He had these thoughts more often lately, but he knew that it had to be this way. He had pleaded with her numerous times, had even fell on his knees and pleaded for her to come, but she would have nothing of it.

"Duty before self" she said, but at what cost?

'Regret, sadness, and unhappiness are the costs...Why couldn't she see that? Couldn't she have been happier with me and... '

His thoughts were interrupted by the scream of his horse and the sudden feeling of flying as he realized that his horse was falling underneath him. Instinctively the large Rimurian tucked his head and rolled his shoulder, as he impacted the ground he rolled and stood up almost immediately blade in hand. Looking to find the source of the interruption, Johannes spotted the sun being reflected in a number of areas in the snow covered bushes and behind rocks on both sides of the road.

"Ambush!"

As the scream came out of his mouth, a number of individuals clothed in light grey and white leather armor came rushing out at the caravan with their arms raised brandishing swords and axes.

'Why didn't they attack right away instead of waiting for my cry?'

Two of the assailants came at Johannes; there movements were calculated and smooth, in contrary to what the veteran would have expected from bandits. Johannes was forced to fight them with one on each side.

'They've already sized me up, even before I've done anything'.

He was forced to hastily parry quick blows that were intended to maneuver rather than hit. The cries of pain were signs that the other guards weren't faring well either. Waiting on the next thrust, Johannes sidestepped and ran into his closest assailant. Dropping his blade just as he came up on him, the Rimurian grabbed the aggressor under the groin and shoulder and threw him towards his companion.

'Tarlen!'

Realizing that his son was with the caravan, Johannes quickly scanned the caravan as he picked up his blade. The boy was nowhere to be seen. Turning again on his assailants, the hood of his volley had shifted to expose his face.

"Iransian!"

The figure had the dark skin typical of individuals of the Iransir kingdom. Markings as white as clouds were on both of his cheeks.

'What are Iransians doing here? Duelists never leave the capital city unless they are on mission'.

In a previous life, the Rimurian had faced these elite warriors, had even the chance to befriend one. This was most likely the reason why he was still breathing even after such a short encounter. Johannes suddenly realized why the duelists were here.

'I have to get to Tarl and fast'.

Quickly fixing his hood, the thrown assailant charged. Johannes jumped back, but the blade still stung the bigger man in the right leg. Accepting the pain willingly he stepped forward and slid his blade between his opponents ribs. The Iransian's eyes expanded in surprise and didn't have time to realize the feint had cost him his life. He only had time to see his blade jutting from his blade brother's chest over twenty feet away and the Rimurian running towards another of his brothers.

Tarlen didn't know what to do, at first he had heard the scream coming from his father at the front of the caravan, and then soon after, sounds of clashing weapons surrounded the young boy. Instinctively, he hid in one of the chests holding fine silks, but was soon pushed out by the merchant who himself was in search for a hiding spot to escape the attackers. Not knowing what to do, Tarl ran towards the old injured mare at the back, hoping to set her free and ride her out of the vicinity. Covering the ground beneath two wagons as silent as he could by crawling underneath them, the boy held back his tears as he faced numerous of the men working with his father laying on the ground looking at him with unmoving, expressionless eyes.

He heard his name being cried out just as he got up and started untying the rope that held to mare to the trailing wagon. Turning, he was faced by the sight of his father trading blows with a group of the attackers. His father has numerous red marks splattered across his body and face. Tarl had never been so scared of his father than at this moment. The way in which he screamed and lunged at his assailant was so different from the quiet giant that he new him as. He stood there, transfixed on the sight of death and horror that was in front of him. The man that was his father mercilessly and quickly dispatched his opponent.

"Father!"

For a second the fighting stopped. The remaining Rimurian and his Iransian opponents all turned towards the lone and small figure of the boy standing, shacking and holding the reins of a horse.

"Run Tarl! Hide in the forest I'll fin-".

Johannes scream was quickly ended by the sharp and curved blade that passed through his throat.

"No!"

As the scream of anguish came out of his son, the sound of weapons hitting the rock cobbled ground around him accompanied the intense pain assaulting his mind.

'He truly is his mother's son'.

The thought of Sharia brought a slight smile to the big mans face and her slender, low browed, thin nosed face was the last thing that he saw as blackness and weightlessness engulfed him.

TO BE CONTINUED

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