Warning: While this story is independent from the plot line of The Crystal Tower: Edelix, it is recommended reading the book first, HOWEVER, you do not need to read the book first to enjoy this short insight. Remember, the first goal for these stories is to broaden the world and the mythos, and the second goal is to add content to the book.
The storm had long been left behind, and the sky was almost clear as they rode through a verdant grassland. Elesliel knew they were almost close to the Kingdom of Aladar, that they needed to ride for at least seven hours to find themselves in the lush grassland that surrounded the Kingdom of Aladar. The land that surrounded the kingdom was said to be almost mysterious, that at some point, the beauty of the land before the kingdom appeared as if a new realm was suddenly accessed. It was of course, a legend. The Kingdom of Aladar was in the same realm as all other kingdoms on Edelix, but the magic of the crystals was vast and unknown, and the Kingdom of Aladar was known for its magnificent crystal moons, and how the kingdom was constructed alongside crystal creepers that rose from the ground. The energy and magic in the kingdom could, perhaps, cast some sort of magic that allowed the land to be so beautiful without known boundaries, and access to that beauty was never known because one never knew where such beauty began.
But such magic was hard to understand, the power of the crystals was simply too grand to ever comprehend, especially for some elf, or any man.
As the hours wore on, they came to notice the beauty of the land before them. None had the slightest idea when they had entered the land, but now that they had, they knew the kingdom of Aladar was closer than before. On the horizon, they noticed a hill that ran for quite a while. They could not see the kingdom yet, but Elesliel knew the kingdom would reveal itself once they were on the other side of the hill.
He turned to his companions, nodding once to them. He then turned to his Horned Steed; “ride with haste, another night out here would not be in the best of interest for any of us.”
The Horned Steed neighed, understanding, and hastened its step. The arduous endeavor was accepted fully by all three companions, they wanted to rest inside the walls of the kingdom, and so, they cared less that their backs hurt and their bones ached due to the fast riding.
As they neared the hill, their bodies lost all interest in the pain that coursed through them. Instead, a shadow of terror seeped through their very veins, and made them tremble before the sight.
Ten riders appeared aver the hill. Ten assassins that smiled their most cruel smiles.
Elesliel had no idea what to do. He concentrated, stopped his Horned Steed, and grabbed his staff. His other two companions did likewise, and each took their weapons, readying for attack.
The assassins rode forward. The three companions had only reached the base of the hill, before they stopped to face their opponents. They didn’t move further, they didn’t move back. As warriors and trained magicians of the Academy, they didn’t back down from enemies, else they would show cowardice, and cowardice had been something removed from their systems by their masters.
“What is your business?” asked Elesliel, now focused. His terror long gone, replaced by anger.
“You dare ask what our business is? You are no one!” answered one of the ten riders.
“What I am or not, you are enemy. Unless your bidding is of aid to our king, then we will not see you as enemies. But if your bidding is for King Xious, then you are enemy, and we see you as a threat to our king.”
“Very well spoken, young elf. Do not quarrel with us, you will not live. As our token of respect to your bravery, we will allow safe passage. In the end, you will die, but for now, enjoy the remaining days that my king has offered.”
Elesliel knew he could not win the battle against ten foes, ten formidable foes. He was smart, he accepted their offer with a single nod.
He turned to his companions. “Do not speak,” he finished, and they met his glare with rage. They made their way forward, leaving the assassins behind.
“No cowardice greater than this have I ever shown!” said Alestair after traveling for quite a distance. They rode steady, the kingdom was in sight and the three sun’s were still casting their light.
“I have learned from my master that cowardice is a disgrace to man and elf, that one should lay their life to their enemy if fighting with cowardice, because either way, you end your life. But he also thought me of intelligence. Our meeting was not but chance, they did not have a reason to kill us, and even though we do have reason, we are on a quest to do something that is beyond us. We could not fight them, it was not our battle to fight. They will find their end at the hands of our king’s allies, unfortunately, it is not our hands. What I was asked to do I could not compromise, too many lives would be at stake if I never joined the Kingdom of Aladar’s medical support. And hear me, we would have died. What little cowardice we have shown was for the better of the people, and we will bring about our redemption in battle, when we face our enemies and we defeat them in the name of our king.”
Elesliel rode with haste, a tear rolled down his cheek. He would bear his shame, not having faced the assassins that were after his king was a disrespect to his beloved queen, but he knew the queen would have rather had him help save lives that were at stake. He had known her, she loved her people.
He entered the wall of the Kingdom of Aladar, followed by his companions.
Copyright 2013 by Javier Duenes. All rights reserved.