Of Ash & Blood
I walked down the hall to the training grounds where the others were. I had spent all morning in the office with Wyse, I thought I would never be free of his nagging voice.
Since my parents death two years ago, I had become responsible for everything. I was thrown into the world of ledgers, orders, meetings all day. Of course, I still took time to head down to the training grounds daily.
”Now, Lord Moraeu, this has to be completed before winter! The servants need winters clothes, we must stock up on meats and grain. We don have much time left! ” Wyses voice nagged inside my head.
”And we will get it, I just need to head down to the training grounds first. You know, you
e actually supposed to be there too. ” I pointed out. Wyse smirked, ”Then who would make sure you do your job? ”
I chuckled, Wyse had become more an advisor than a knight these days. He was right, however.
”You know, you could always bring a Lady here. Then she would do all this- we could spend the day training to your hearts content! ” He exclaimed. I shook my head, saying no. I thought back to Amabel, whome I haven seen since my parents death. Of course, once word had got out, they sent their condolences and a few gifts of furs and honey. A few invitations to banquets and other celebrations, my heart weakened at the thought of Amabel. Would she of even wanted me there? I pursed my lips as I thought.
”I have no time for a lady, Sir Wyse. Don you nag me enough already? ” I stood from my chair, rolling up my tunics sleeves. Wyse rolled his eyes and sighed, as if he was a disapproving father.
I left him in the office as I made my way down the red carpeted stairs, the carpet was looking a bit tattered as it hadn been replaced since mothers death. She was always redecorating, much to fathers disapproval.
”Don you want to keep up with the styles, dear? ” She would ask.
He didn care about style – though he wanted everything to look lavish, at the same time. There was almost no pleasing father.
I wondered across the courtyard where gardeners were hard at work to clip flowers and bushes before first snowfall. It was coming up, we would maybe have a month, so everyone was running around mad lately. Farmers were quick to cover their barren crops, livestock was being sent to the butchers. The city of Aelis, my home, sat in the north region of Estrus. The weather was typically rainy and cool, we would have a few good weeks in the summer but otherwise, the area was mostly surrounded with hills and thick trees every way.
The Royal family resided in the east, the capital city of Estrus sat along the mountain side. We had made the trip a few times within the last few years, meeting with the rest of King Connards men and nobles to speak about the upcoming war against Tarion, a neighboring region. According to the others, King Connard plans to expand into their territory, claiming their terrain is better suited for attraction cities, bringing in more travels would then bring in more money spent at Inns, arenas, thus more money in his pocket. It was a selfish war, however my hands were tied.
A lot has changed since Ive taken over. The ledgers were a mess. I expanded our territory, gift of King Connard after assisting one of his nobles with their nasty bandit raids. I built a name here, just as my father wanted. I put more money into training and supplies to strengthen our forces and add numbers to the knights, taking in more trainees.
It took me almost no time to get down to the them as I jumped down the steps, jogging over to Gallion as he was about to give a fatal blow to Rolant, but both stopped in their tracks as they noticed me coming down.
”Now, don stop on my account! I want to see what you all have been doing to teach these young men here. ” I widened my stance and crossed my arms over my chest, looking at all of them. One of the trainees, a younger man that had just recently joined, laughed and spoke from across the dirt field. ”Not much of anything, my Lord! These two have been at it just about the whole time. ”
Both Gallion and Rolant sent him dirty looks, straightening themselves up. ”I can assure you Lord Moraeu we were just showing the boys a skilled battle. ” Gallion nodded his head, pushing his chin length blonde hair out of his face. Rolant followed suite, patting his chestplate and nodding after Gallion.
”What is your name, again? ” I asked the young boy. He couldn be more than 16, not yet really ready to go anywhere with us, but could possibly assist with watching over the stock of meats and wool. He had a scrawny build, but he was a tall boy. Maybe only a few inches shorter than me- tall for his age. He had short blonde hair and brown eyes.
”Aiden Brone, my Lord! ” He smiled, revealing crooked, awkward teeth.
”Well, lets show the young man a skilled battle then! Who would like to take me on? ” I reached out, looking at everyone in front of me. All my skilled knights began to look around at eachother, seeing if there would be any takers.
”What about you, Sir Jacob? I had a bit of fun last time. ” I pointed over to him as he stood in the back, trying to avoid my gaze. He shook his head right away. ”No, my Lord. Unfortunately, I have hurt my, uhm – knee today. I may need to visit Arion later on. ”
”That is too bad. And you, Gallion? You seem to already be warmed up, ” I took a step forward. and made my stance. Rolant backed away as Gallion sighed, following my lead.
”One…Two…Go! ” Rolant bellowed out from the sidelines, Gallion and I charging from our spots towards eachother. He attempted to take his sword and make a blow to my legs, which I quickly deflected and used my elbow against his side to get him moved over just enough to hook my arm around his side to bring him down.
Dirt and dust was flying all around, Gallion managed to wiggle out of my grip. He came at me from the side, holding his sword high. If I had waited just a second longer to lift mine up, it would have come crashing down on my skull. The sounds of swords clattering and the other men cheering filled the air around us, until we heard it all go silent for a moment just as I was about to get Gallion onto the ground.
”Lord Moraeu! Just what do you think you are doing? ” I heard a loud voice boom from the top of the stairs, taking a moment to look up.
Gallion and I froze. I looked up at Wyse with a childish grin, still holding onto Gallion.
”Theres no need to worry, Sir Wyse, ” I said, taking Gallions distraction to my advantage and giving him a swift throw to the ground.
”I am all done, ” I wiped my hands of the dust and wondered over to the bottom of the stairs, behind me I could hear the others laughing as Gallion swiftly returned to his feet, mumbling something along the lines of ”It is not a fair fight when I took an oath to protect- ”
I turned and gave him a stern look, ”I could always let you free of that oath, then we could go again, would you like that Sir Gallion? ”
His face went white as a sheet. He promptly shook his head, Rolant chuckled and patted his back. ”Don be a sore loser, brother. Lets all head over to the dining hall. I believe tonight is smoked pork and stewed cabbage. ”
”Yes, yes, just lead the way. I cannot wait for some mead. ” Gallion followed shortly behind and the rest right after them. I turned my attention back to Wyse, who was growing impatient. He held a letter in his hand, shoving it in my face. I yanked it from his hands.
”This is why you interrupted me? A letter? ”
”A telegram, its an invitation from the Ashdowns. Theyve requested your attention right away. ”
I let out a deep sigh, ”Do they say why they want us there? ”
”I would suspect it has something to do with Lord Ashdowns recent audience with King Connard. ”
What would that have to do with me? I let out a deep sigh and nodded. We began walking back to the office.
”Well, then I would assume you will stay here and watch over things while Im gone then, right? ” Wyse looked astonished at my suggestion. He stopped in place and turned to face me, ”Ive already made arrangements for Arion and Mr. Allan to watch over things, I will be going with you! ”
Wyse always insisted on going everywhere, he never liked to be left at the estate on his own.
”I don have much of a choice, do I? ”
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