For this WTF Friday I thought I’d share an excerpt from “The Seers’ War Part One – The Weaving of the Web” featuring the rogue siblings, Cara and Bram. Enjoy!
At the front of the group escorted by Sir Drystan himself, were two people who stood out among their southern Rheyfelwr companions as clearly as they were going to stand out among the northern Rheyfelwr of Arswyd.
The man was six feet tall and of slim build with gray eyes and wavy light brown hair that came to the nape of his neck. Though worn pushed back behind his ears, the occasional thin braid could be seen amongst the loose tresses, the mark of an elementalblade. His leather armor was stained black and tooled with various vine designs and knotwork patterns that brought to mind images of imposing mountains and deep forests. He carried a longsword, slender and quickly tapering in the Tuatha Dé Talamh fashion, on his left hip, a dagger on his right and a pair of dirks cross-sheathed at the back of his belt. A long bow was slung over one shoulder and on the other, where his worn cloak attached to his armor, was a small enameled pin bearing a Blue Triskelion on a white field that marked him as a member of a noble House, though in name only.
A House that hadn’t existed before the Battle of Telyn y Llyn.
The woman riding with him gazed about her with the fascinated curiosity of one who spent very little time in cities. She was a dark brunette with large heathery gray eyes. Like her companion her hair tumbling about her shoulders sported random plaits, although hers had the addition of blue ribbons woven into them. Her leather armor wasn’t stained but was covered in images of the sea, sea monsters and enough raging rivers and cascading waterfalls to make the unwary seasick. She wore a pair of swords identical in design to the man’s sheathed across her back and carried a short bow over one shoulder.
Both of them wore leather bracers that, like Axel’s, were adorned with silver knotwork that was in fact raised blades.
For a dwarf who admittedly had a soft spot for EarthFolk in general, and especially those of the feminine persuasion, Axel found Cara a sight for sore eyes. However, he reasoned he’d be alright so long as she never spoke a word within his range of hearing.
Drystan trotted his horse up ahead of them. “Ambassador Meilyr, they claim to be a part of your retinue.”
Iefan glanced past the knight to the two EarthFolk. Bram shrugged with all the enthusiasm of a bored scribe inundated with work and as much care as a cat lazing in the sun. Cara was still staring around at the towering whitewashed buildings as if she hadn’t heard a word anyone said.
“Yes, well, I can see how they might appear to be spies or assassins, Sir Drystan. But I’m willing to take responsibility for them as members of my staff. If they happen to spill any blood, it’ll be on my hands, I assure you.”
The smirk on Iefan’s lips was enough to make Axel’s blood run cold and it occurred to him that things might not be as he’d been led, or more accurately allowed, to believe.
“I take it then that my men are no longer needed.”
“You take it correctly, captain.” Iefan offered a courteous bow that he somehow managed to make drip with sarcasm. “Thank you for your assistance in my staff’s absence.”
Bowing in his saddle, Drystan reined his mount around and galloped out of the yard.
“I’m not sorry to see him go.” Bram sighed with relief as he hopped down from his horse. “Cocky bastard.”
Still on her horse, Cara leaned far across the back of her mount to watch the knight’s retreating back.
“I like him.”
“He reminds me of you.”
Bram turned helplessly to Axel and Iefan. “Can you believe her? Not a word to me the entire month we’re on the road. We ride in here and she can’t shut up. Wouldn’t mind it so much, but she has it in for me.”
Her voice was like honey, smooth and sweet. So quietly gentle, a fair breeze would have blown her words away. There was something in Cara’s tone that easily commanded the attentions of those around her, that did things to a man if he took the least bit interest in her. Axel mentally slapped himself to get his motor skills functioning again, his voice and his brain briefly lagging behind.
“You probably deserve it for something you did in Llafn and she’s been keeping it penned up inside for the last month.”
Back to gazing at her surroundings, at the sound of Axel’s voice, Cara’s gray eyes zeroed in on him and a radiant smile broke across her face. Hopping down from her horse, she ran to him.
More accustomed to the sibling sniping that was the glue between Cara and Bram than Iefan, he started forward with hands outstretched in welcome. Clasping the EarthFolk woman’s warmly, he quickly found himself suffocating as she dropped to her knees and wrapped him quite literally in a bear hug. The Tuatha Dé Talamh weren’t a powerfully built race known for great strength, but they were known for their agility and the sinewy might that resulted from it was a force to be reckoned with.
When she finally released her hold and he was able to breath again, Axel kissed her cheek. Holding her at arms’ length, he smiled. “Cara, you look lovely.”
She smiled and the tinge of rose on her otherwise pale cheeks made a part of Axel’s heart turn to mush. His gaze fell on a cut across her throat and what looked like a blossoming bruise on her jaw but he refrained from asking.
“I hope you don’t plan on kissing me.”
“The thought never crossed my mind, Bram. Oh, sorry. I mean Sir Bram,” his added with a mocking bow and a taunting grin.
“ ‘Sir’ my eye. I’m no more a ‘Sir’ than you’re a giant. But,” Bram shrugged, half-glancing at the servants and soldiers dismounting and filing to their allotted stations behind him before turning to Iefan. “No one refuses the queen. Am I right, Lord Iefan?”
“Quite right, Sir Bram. But here, I’m no lord and should like to keep it that way. At least for the time being.”
The earthborne elementalblade looked at his sister. “Aw, shit. Why do I have the feeling we’re caught smack dab in the middle of more political bullshit?”
Iefan smirked. “That colorful description is probably the best account of recent events I’ve heard to date.” He motioned with his hands out wide. “Lady Cara, Sir Bram, welcome to the little corner of Diemwnt in Arswyd.”
~Excerpt from “The Seers’ War Part One – The Weaving of the Web” copyright AJ Culpepper 2014
~ Image courtesy of http://www.3dtotal.com- Artist: ‘Female Rogue’ by Dani Garcia (Woody)