Hello again Dear Reader,
(And welcome to my new readers!)
Today I’m sharing with you the draft for the first part of The Ruon Chronicles’ prologue. I’m hoping to show you over the next few weeks how the prologue comes together. This will be on Fridays. At the beginning of the week I’ll dive into the world of The Ruon Chronicles. I hope you enjoy it!
The Ruon Chronicles: Prologue, Book 1, Part 1
The Keepers from Holt Haliern and Nortkhall led Harhas along the road into Brenoth Wood. The road here had been cleared recently and, even after three days of sun, the road was still muddy.
Almost at the front of the column, Tarion caught glimpses of the shackled man every now and then. The man seemed innocent enough with his small frame, hunched shoulders, and soft voice.
Tarion touched the small scar beside his right eye. Thanks to the Ruon healers, the only reminder of the cut was a thin white scar.
“First time seeing a Khalver?” the brawny man next to him asked.
Tarion looked up at Ranor and nodded.
“Then you’re lucky.” Ranor shifted the strap of his bag marked with one of the embroidered charms of the Ruon on his shoulder. He seemed a little too eager to make use of the bow he held in one hand.
“You’re new at Holt Haliern, aren’t you?” he asked Tarion.
Tarion nodded. “I was trained at -”
“Ameragh.” Ranor chuckled at his expression. “Could hear that a mile away by the way you speak. One of the Ringwood Airus?”
“I myself am from Nenemna.”
“The same as Harhas?” Tarion caught a glimpse of the shackled man again.
“Indeed.” Ranor spat the word like it left a bitter taste in his mouth. “Must’ve been tainted by someone from the mountains, if you ask me. The people of Nenemna follow Agrai. It’s those ones in the mountains that serve the Lewjan.”
Tarion could see Ranor’s jaw working.
“One man doesn’t speak for a whole country,” he ventured.
“Where there’s one Khalver there’s sure to be more. He would not have worked alone.”
“But we found only him.”
“That doesn’t make him the only one. But then again, you’ll still learn, Airus. Perhaps you’re too young for this world. The war changed everything.”
The company of Keepers entered the clearing where the Shadowmere lay with their prisoner. The water of the lake was an inky blue-black that seemed to reflect a night sky even now when the sun was still overhead.
Tarion listened for birds in the sudden silence, but could hear none. Even the horses became skittish and he spoke a few soothing words to his own horse, Silda, to calm him.
The plants around the lake had been cleared to make room for the tall monoliths that bore writing in the letters of the Khalne. The deeply carved letters glowed from within with a faint blue light so that they could even be read from the edge of the clearing.
A wooden boat waited at the shore for the prisoner. Three Ruon Keepers stood there waiting. Dressed in lavishly embroidered clothes, Tarion was surprised to see that none of them were armed - unless you could call the small scissors in their chantelaines weapons.
In the centre of the lake, on a small, rocky island, stood a stone tower. It seemed to be almost crumbling with age. Yet on it, too, glimmered the newly-carved letters of the Khalne.
He started at his name coming from the captain that rode beside Harhas.
“Come, you will go with us. You to, Ranor.”
Tarion swallowed hard as he dismounted. He needed to keep his wits about him. Khalver had the wiles of the Lewjan about them, and Harhas was said to speak in tones you couldn’t help but obey.
The young Airus studied Harhas as he walked closer to where the Khalver stood.
From this close, the man seemed weary beyond his years. Dark circles around his eye on his pale face made his eyes seem too large for his face. Those hard eyes spotted him and stared as he walked closer.
“So you bring an Airus to keep me chained while you put me on that useless boat?” A wry grin twisted Harhas’ mouth. “Unless he can walk the Veil you won’t see him alive again if you take me into that tower.”
Tarion heard the blood rushing in his ears, almost drowning out Harhas’ laughter.
Harhas shifted his eyes from Tarion to Ranor.
“The boy’s at least a proper Keeper. What are you? A Ruon acting like you can shoot a bow and not just tie one?”
“I did say we should gag him,” Ranor said to the captain. “His insults tire me.” He grabbed Harhas’ wrist instead of taking the woven chain that the captain held out to him.
“Why thank you,” Harhas said as Ranor clutched at his heart, falling to one knee. The embroidery on his clothes turned to ash as the Nith in them was extracted. When Harhas looked up, his pupils glowed a deep red.
Tarion pulled an shaft from the quiver at his side and in one fluid movement shot the Khalver in the heart. Yet Harhas didn’t flinch or fall — he laughed.
To be continued…