Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Friends and Enemies: Chapter Three: Secrets, Traitors and Rings

Willow was half-sleeping. She was half awake/half asleep. There were whispers, footsteps, the clunk of a door closing and...
   Willow jolted out of half-sleep and sat up quickly.
   "We know that no one is here, Emmeth and that Sir Richard are at the capital. No one will disturb us," a male voice assured.
   Wondering if that someone was talking to her, Willow snatched her horn off of the washstand and pressed herself silently against the door to her room.
   "Are you absolutely sure, Ketennith? What if you're caught? How will you talk your way out of that?" Another male voice, cold and stern, demanded.
   "Hah! There's no one to catch me here! This place is only known to Rebels, and no others are here tonight," scoffed Ketennith.
   After pulling on her cloak and tugging the hood over her head, Willow edged the door open as silently as she could, then tiptoed barefooted to the carved stone railing overlooking the large open room where the speakers undoubtedly were. Leaning her right shoulder against the railing, she peered down to see what these traitors-okay, they might not be traitors, but still-looked like.    
They were both young men. One wore a light green tunic, loose brown leggings, leather chest plate-like thing and cloak with a hood {which he was wearing-the hood I mean} and brown boots. He also had a bow and a quiver of brown-feathered arrows.
One had shoulder-length black hair and wore all black. Black shirt, black pants, black gloves and shoes. There was some sort of menace that he seemed to carry in his presence.
   Rubbing her V medallion, Willow shifted her position to get a better look at Man-in-Black's face. He had a long face, and looked possibly Mandolorian.
  But she saw his eyes, her heart started beating so loud that is seemed lucky that those guys didn't hear it. His eyes were black. They looked kind of like empty pits in his face. He was no ordinary person. He was a Shadow. Of course, not like a normal person. Normal people are born Shadow until they are chosen by the Author and become Codebearers.
   But this guy obviously worked for the Shadow. He was probably some sort of errand boy or something. Though she'd never seen him before. Maybe he was from the Veil {our world, Earth} or Solondria {see the book 'Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow'} or something.
   Man-in-Black narrowed his black eyes at Ketennith. His pale skin contrasted with his black eyes gave him an intimidating and eerie look. The torchlight flickered.
   "So." Ketennith began. "You want to bribe me to give you the secret location of Essgarothe, am I right?"
   Man-in-Black lifted his eyebrows and tilted his head ever-so-slightly. "You could put it that way," he answered icily. "I was sent to offer you a position, of secret informant to us Shadow. As you may know, our benefactor wants the prince. Prince Emmeth is rather naive, and may be swayed to end the war. With the proper ceremonies, of course."
   "Of course," commented the traitor.
   Man-in-Black cleared his throat. "Unfortunately, there has been another development. At the capital, our guards captured a Thunderbird, only native to Solondria. She is a Kestrel, a very rare breed of Thunderbirds {a kestrel is actually a real bird}. She was found to be the Thunderbird of a certain Prophet of the Chosen Four," he remarked, glaring coolly at Ketennith. Willow gulped.
Ketennith looked bewildered. "What does that have to do with this?"
   "You FOOL!" shouted the Shadow. "Are you really so dense as not to understand? The Prophet, Willow Elvish-grace, is extremely dangerous to this cause! She cannot be allowed to meet and assist the prince or the Rebels. If she does, the entire Resistance will come to Tashra's aid!!" By now, his pale face had taken on a decidedly different tone. He was very red faced. It would have been funny if it hadn't been so horribly serious.
   "Oh," Ketennith looked nervous. "But I haven't heard of any girl being found around here or the capital."
   Man-in-Black rubbed his forehead. His many silver rings flashed in the torchlight. One of them eerily reminded Willow of the eye of Sauron.
   "Have you been to the capital recently?" he asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
   The answer was obvious. "Uh.... no."
   Man-in-Black smirked, looking very evil indeed. "Then how in the name of Lord Tash could you possibly know that she isn't on this planet?!" he asked, eyes narrowing more.
    Ketennith puffed out his chest. "I'll find her, if she's here. Emmeth trusts me. You can count on it."
   Man-in-Black considered it.
   Then a really dreadful thing happened.
   The ancient wood railing that Willow was leaning on had started to give way to her weight pressed against it. She, of course, paid the funny squeaking sounds no mind. Then it gave way.
   Of course, she hadn't been hanging on to anything except her horn, which she held tightly with both hands. So that meant that she tumbled head over heels into the center of the large room. Right between Man-in-Black and Ketennith. Lovely. This day/night was getting better all the time.
   In a flash Ketennith grabbed the back of her cloak and jerked her to her feet. Man-in-Black pulled his Shadow Sword from his belt and pointed it at her rather maliciously.
   "Spy!" he cried, slashing the at the air like a psycho. "Rebel! Codebearer!"
   He had obviously lost it.
   Ketennith grabbed her wrists and pulled her hood off her face {poor Willow had hardly seen most of this scene, her head was tangled up in the hood}. Her braid fell freely down her back and she blinked quickly in the more intense torchlight.
   Instantly the Shadow's pale face flashed with recognition. He lowered his sword.
   "So," he sneered, evil delight plain as day on his face. "Have anything to say for yourself?"
   Willow gulped. "Uh... I don't believe we've met." What else am I supposed to say? She thought. Oh, sorry, I was just fixing the drains? Oops! I was just cleaning the railing?
Man-in-Black bowed sarcastically, then offered his hand as if to shake. "Sirius Darkfeather, at your service, Prophet of the Chosen Four, Willow Elvish-grace." Willow gulped again.
   "Oh. Hi."
   Sirius smirked.
   Wrenching her wrists free of the other guy's grip, Willow reached for her sword. Her fingers closed on air, and she glanced around desperately. Uh oh. I left it in my room. Big uh oh.
"Heh," she squeaked, plastering on a fake smile and backing up quickly.
   An evil smile flickered onto his face, and he stepped forward menacingly. "Now, if you wouldn't mind, you're coming with me. Lord Tash will be ever so pleased to meet you."
   "I don't think so," she countered, still scanning the room. There.
Ketennith stood back, wondering what he was supposed to do. He managed to step back into the shadows, and was debating whether to help Sirius or make a run for it.
   Darkfeather stepped forward. Willow stepped back further. She knew that he wanted her ring. That would probably be his reward. He could use her ring. That would be really good for the Shadow, and really, really bad for the Codebearers.
   Then he made his move. Crying "Give me your ring!" he rushed forward, brandishing his Shadow Sword. Quick as a flash, Willow threw out her left hand and used the Author's Force to call the elven horn to her. Dodging Darkfeather, she caught it and raised it to her lips. The horn's beautiful call reverberated throughout the room. {If you've ever seen the Hobbit movie, and heard the elven-horns then, that's what it sounded like.}
   "What in the name of...?" Emmeth gasped, appearing at the railing.
   Sirius's face paled even more at the sight of the young prince. He glanced wildly around as Emmeth rapidly descended the steps.
   "What is the meaning of this?" Emmeth demanded as he beckoned Willow to get behind him and pointed his Veritas Sword at Sirius.
   His face contorted until it smoothed into a smile. An evil smile.
   "Your little friend wanted an audience with Lord Tash, and he sent me to fetch her," he accused, narrowing his eyes at Willow.
   "That's not true!" Willow cried. "Him and some other guy, Ken or something, were discussing how to catch you and get to that Essgar-whatever place!"
   Emmeth glared at Sirius. "Why would I trust a Shadow like you?" he asked coldly. Silence.
   Shouts suddenly broke the silence. Sliding down the rope hanging from a hole in the floor about a hundred feet away, came several ranger-looking youths, all clutching Veritas Swords or Via Bows. Backup! Willow noted with relief. Four of them tackled Sirius, bound him and locked him up in a convenient prison cell while Emmeth listened to Willow explain what she'd heard.
   He looked thoughtful. "Did you get a good view of this "Ketennith" person?"
   She sighed. "No. I only saw what he was wearing, but his face was obscured."
   Emmeth sighed too. "Ketennith is a codename we use sometimes. It was the name of an ancient hero of Tashra. Many of our men use it as an alias because it is a rather common name. I don't know of any Ketteniths that serve under me, though."
   "Drat," she grumped.
   His face brightened. "But you helped us catch a high-level errand boy for Tash, and for that we're grateful. But why don't you try to get a few more hours of sleep, then we'll head for Essgarothe."
   "What about what's his face, Siri-something?"
   "My men will watch him. He won't get away. We'll bring him with us in the morning."
   "Great, see you then." Willow smiled and headed back up to sleep.

Stay tuned for chapter four, Essgarothe!

What do you think?



  1. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't until now read "Friends and Enemies". Because it is just so fantastic! You're showing real talent in your writing, Willow, and it keeps getting better with each part. Friends and Enemies would make such an amazing movie, too. :)

    xo Leslie Violet

    1. Thank you so much! This makes me want to write so much more!

    2. Please do!! I'm eagerly awaiting what will happen next.

  2. Hello Willow, I am the photographer of the American Kestrel image you are using in your story. It is important that you contact me immediately about your usage of this photo. Please email me at grillguy50@gmail.com as soon as possible.

    1. Dennis: I'm sorry, but I'm not permitted to email people I know over the internet. I would be glad to remove this photo or credit it to you, whichever one you prefer. I found it on Pinterest.


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