Journey of the Warrior Ch. 03

byRoadbug©

Artemus turned to his son and said, "This is my son, your cousin, Dranco. While you stay with us he will be your guide.

Dranco bowed to her too and said, "My honor, cousin. Be welcome to our home and to my heart."

He straightened back up and said to me, "Uncle, you are full of surprises. Where did you find such beauty?"

"She was a prisoner of the bandits we freed yesterday morning when Shardinelle and I found their camp. I answered. "She played her part in taking the main group when they returned last evening and was very brave. Your cousin was also very brave and did well."

Artemus said, "I am glad to here that. I know how headstrong she is and I was worried when she offered you her sword."

I said, "She may be headstrong, but she obeyed orders and did well. She and I alone took out the camp guards. She took four to my five."

Artemus looked around and when he saw her he walked over and told her, "Well done my child. I was afraid for you, but now I feel less worry. As long as you obey Hawk in battle, you should do well. I am proud of you."

He looked over at me and asked, "And how did my daughters do?"

I said, "I don't know. Deliand, Shardinelle and I were out waiting for the bandits to return. When we saw that the party was much larger than expected I sent her back to warn the rest. When Deliand and I returned we took our place with her. You'll have to ask someone else, although I've had no complaints."

Bran spoke up then and said, "I was with them. The were hidden behind the tree where I'd been bound. They fought bravely and well. Be proud of your companions Lord Hawk."

I said, "Thank you Bran. I am proud of all my companions. Especially this young one who stayed at her post unarmed until the bandits were trapped. Of us all she was the bravest." I placed my hand on Fianna's shoulder as I said this."

I heard several of the warriors agree with my statement and all bowed to her, including Artemus and Dranco. Even the warriors who'd stayed behind bowed to her.

Finished with the talking, my companions took the horses and turned them over to the stable hands. That done, we all went up to the great doors leading in to the castle.

Lord Artemus lead us to a private dinning room and said, "Be welcome to my hall Hawk's companions. Rest here for a bit and I'll have hot food sent from the kitchen. When you have all finished I'll see that you have rooms for the night."

I asked, "Is that room I was using upstairs still available?"

Artemus said, "That room is yours. It will always be available for your use as long as you live."

I said, "I wasn't sure as we weren't on the best of terms when I left."

"I understood your anger, Hawk," he said. "I don't hold it against you and am glad that you returned at least for a short time. I am also glad that you gave me this chance to meet your daughter as she is my kin too. Her name will be entered into the clan Book of Names as the Fianna daughter of Hawk adopted Brother of Artemus."

I thanked him and he left the room.

Looking around the table, I saw the four warriors and the two women who'd originally joined me. I still didn't know the names of the for men but right now it didn't matter. Deliand and Bran were also there. Fianna was seated next to me and had moved her chair so close that I could barely move my left arm without hitting her.

Two of the other women we'd freed were also there, one human and one elf. There was also an old man that I didn't know. I couldn't even tell if he was human or elf. He could have been either since his hair covered his ears and he was beardless.

I looked at the new comers and said, "I don't know either of you but since my companions accept your presence I assume you did something that they noticed. Be welcome to our table."

The elf said, "I'm Breina. Be free with my name. I was one of the hostages you rescued from the ambush of the bandits. When I was freed, I helped with the wounded. I have some skill with herbs and treating wounds."

The human woman said, "I too was one of the hostages you freed last evening. I'm just a trader. I came with you because I have no where else to go now. My friends and family are gone. My name is Cally and I'd like to stay with you."

The man I didn't know said, "I am Gramin. I am a healer of sorts and am called druid although I don't follow their ways. I answered a call for assistance from a friend and decided to see what I could about his new brother. So far, I've seen much to think on. A man who would argue with a goddess is interesting."

All the others laughed at that and Deliand said, "Healer, you haven't seen the half of it yet. He got mad at the lady two nights ago and insulted her, then gave back the ring that Artemus awarded him as his champion. Then he left all of us behind and set out after the bandits alone. After seeing him in battle twice now, I think they're lucky we caught him."

That got another round of laughter.

I said, "If your lady would quit sticking me with followers and companions and such, I'd have no argument with her. Since she keeps doing things that I'm either uncomfortable with or go against my beliefs, she should get used to arguments. I didn't want any of this and she bound two to me without even asking me."

Deliand said, "We are all here by choice, brother. I choose to follow where ever you lead. Not the goddess, not the king and not Artemus. I choose this. Remember that."

"I know," I said. "I'm not arguing about that. I'm arguing about the price she put on my life without asking me first. I'm arguing about two girls who pledged themselves to me to save my life without my knowledge. That angered me. I should have had some say in it."

Deliand bowed his head for a moment then looked at me again and said, "That's why I'm here. I follow one who would risk angering a god by fighting for the freedom of two who aren't even of his own race. I follow a man who would risk his life and ride for two days with a poisoned arrow in his side to save a people not his own."

He paused for a moment and Mellany stood and said,"I follow a man who would risk his life to save my home and who almost died of it. I follow a man who gave freely even knowing he was dying of his wound. I follow Hawk the Knight who risked all for my family to be safe."

She sat down and Eldranna stood. "I follow a man who faced a goddess in anger because he felt what was done to me was wrong. I follow a man who always has time for a child. I follow a man who has more compassion than any three of the rest of us. I follow a man who took an orphan as daughter before he even knew her name."

She looked me in the eyes and said, "I follow Hawk the kind hearted. She sat down.

Shardinelle stood and said, "I follow a man who cared enough to insult a goddess because he didn't agree with how she treated my cousins. I follow a man who risked his life to free a child bound to a tree in site of her captors. I follow a man who trusted me and gave me a chance."

Bran stood up then and said, "I follow the man who risked his life to free me. I follow a man who fought against three who would have made me a slave. He defeated them all in the time it took me to draw one breath. I follow the man who then gave me a weapon and a chance to avenge myself and my family. I follow willingly."

Breina stood next and said, "I am new to this company but I would join you if you would have me." She sat back down.

The next was Cally and she stood and said, "I too am new to you but I wish to join also."She sat back down.

The next was one of the elves I didn't know. He stood and said, "I am Jadison. I follow the man who led a small troop to fight against a foe that had more than ten times our numbers. I follow the man who took us to where we had a chance to fight while he was bleeding to death. I follow the man who charged an enemy alone to give us victory."

He sat down and the next stood and said, "I am Jarnison, brother at the same birth to Jadison. I to follow the hero of the battle of the pass who charged the enemy line and broke through on his own to kill a mage that would have destroyed us."

He sat and the old man stood and said, "I follow my own path, but I would like to travel with you for a time." he sat and Deliand asked me, "Do you understand why we follow you? Hawk, you have given us all reasons. The reasons are different for some of us, but we all agree on one thing. We will follow you to wherever you go if you allow."

I sat down and thought for awhile. I still didn't remember much about the pass, but when someone spoke of it I saw the thing he spoke of. I remembered charging the line and breaking through. I remember firing my crossbow and the mage falling. I don't remember much else yet.

I looked around the table at each face. Some smiled, others just met my eyes, but none looked away.

I said, "Very well. Now you have three more choices to make. First is Breina. Do each of you accept her?"

All the rest nodded except the other two not of our group.

I looked at Breina and said, "Since the rest accept you, you may join with us for as long as you wish to share our company."

Breina smiled and said, "I thank you all."

"Next is Cally," I said. "Do all of you accept her?"

Again they all nodded. I said, "As with Breina you may join and travel with us for as long as you wish."

She smiled and thanked the group too.

"Finally," I said, "We have my adopted daughter. I ask all of you to teach her what skills you have that she is able to learn. Although she is only 13 years old, I think her able to learn much."

They all smiled at Fianna and she grabbed my arm and said, "Thank you father. I will try to learn all I can."

I kissed her forehead and said, "Learn what you can and remember that it is for you and not for me that you learn. Even if you don't like the lesson, remember that no knowledge is useless. Some things might save your life or allow you to aid another. Learn well and be happy."

"Yes father," she said.

We talked until there was a knock at the door. I said, "Enter," and several elves entered carrying platters of food that they placed on the table. After they left and closed the door, I said, 'Let us eat the meal given to us by Lord Artemus."

We were all hungry since we'd eaten noon meal in the saddle and that hadn't been much. The dinner, though, was excellent. I ate a lot more than I usually do at this time of day and enjoyed every bite.

When we had finished, I told the group to relax but that I needed Bran and Fianna to go somewhere with me.

I took them to Artemus's office. When we approached the door, one of the two guards always there bowed and opened it for us.

I took the two ladies in with me and walked up to where Artemus was sitting and talking to Deliand and Dranco.

He looked up at me and said with a smile, "Welcome home brother."

I thanked him for his kind greeting and said, "I need to get these two some decent weapons and armor. The girl will probably out grow anything we put on her but she has need of it. She's too brave to stay back."

Artemus laughed and said, "I see your learning to be a father already. I have several suits of scale that will fit her as they were made for my daughters. We'll get her set up with three sets so she can grow into the next without having need to get a new set."

I nodded and said, "I'll be happy to pay when I gain the funds."

Artemus glared at me for a moment then said, "You have the right. You and your group will be outfitted properly as befits a Kings Knight and my brother. It is your right and my honor."

I said, "I've said before that I don't know your ways. I will accept this gift for those who follow my path. Since I don't have sufficient coin to purchase what they need I'll have to allow you this. My journeys will be dangerous and I will not have anyone unprepared if I can help it".

"I'll also need a sword for each of them," I continued. "A light one for the child and the lady here needs something a bit better than what she has. It might be good for a bandit, but I wouldn't have it to chop firewood."

Artemus held out his hand to Bran and said, "Sword."

She handed him her weapon and he examined it. Giving it back, he said to me, I agree it isn't much. I can easily do better. Now, I seem to recall that someone forgot his sword here.

I held my hand to Fianna and just as Artemus had said, I said, " Sword." She handed me the blade from the Goddess and I drew it.

Looking at Artemus, I said, "I don't think I need one. This one should do me nicely."

I have seen many expressions on Artemus's face, but this was priceless. I couldn't help myself. I started laughing and so did Deliand and Dranco. Saying he looked surprised would be like saying that the river was a bit damp.

He recovered as I stopped laughing and asked, "Where did you get that?"

I said, "Ask your Lady. She gave it to me as payment for cleansing her forest she said."

"Brother, you are truly blessed," said Artemus. "That blade has a power to it like none I've ever seen. I don't doubt that you will never have need of a sword again."

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Since you said I forgot a sword around here someplace, lets see if my daughter would like it."

Artemus smiled and reached down beside his desk and lifted the sword that Dranco had given me just a short time before. He held it out to Fianna and said, "Granddaughter, take the blade of your father and use it well."

"My father owned this blade?" she asked.

"For a short time," said Artemus. "For some reason, he left it behind when he went out to find some bandits. Take it as my gift since he doesn't seem to need it now."

Fianna looked at me and I smiled and nodded. She handed the staff to Bran and took the sword from Artemus, very carefully drawing it. It was a beautifully made weapon. The artist, and the creator of it truly was an artist, had crafted one of the finest swords I had ever seen. The steel it was forged from glowed as she held it."

Suddenly, that blue glow from the night before came back first to the sword I still held and then moved over me and to Fianna and then to her sword. I almost dropped the one I held in surprise. All the elves backed away from us. I didn't blame them as I wanted to back away too, until I looked into Fianna's eyes.

Her eyes were a bright green that the blue glow seemed to make brighter. Her red gold hair seemed to be brighter also, and also seemed to move around her head a bit, like she was standing in a breeze.

After a few moments, the glow faded again and I hurriedly sheathed my blade. Fianna stood there like she was dazed for a moment then shook herself and re sheathed the blade.. The surprising thing about that was the way she did it without looking like she'd done it thousands of times before.

She turned to me and said, "Father, I'm feeling tired now. I'd like to sleep."

I looked at Artemus and said, "I'll take her to the room you gave me. Tell the others I'd like to be alone with my daughter tonight. Explain to your daughters and Shardinelle what happened and let them take other rooms. I need the time with Fianna alone."

Artemus nodded and said, "I know what they will say but I'll tell them that this is a matter that must be between father and daughter. They'll understand and leave you in peace."

I thanked him and took Fianna to my apartment and put her in the smaller room by herself for the night after showing her where my room was and telling her that if she had any need I'd be here until morning or would wake her.

She nodded and I left her to sleep.

I got into my own bed and was asleep in moments.



Thus ends Chapter 3 of the story of the Warrior.

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by Anonymous08/01/17

Is there going to be any more

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by Anonymous03/07/17

Great Story

Why didn't you finish it????

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