Disclaimer: This is the first story of my character, Khaiden Knighton. I hope that you as reader will enjoy it and I plan to add more for him in the future as I did and am still doing for my other character, Brynwulf Mer-Bane. If you have any questions about the story, you're naturally free to sent me a PM or leave a comment. When you do, please leave a comment on his actual profile which can be found in the following spoiler. As it stands now, all the NPC's you'll encounter throughout the story are made up by me, the only exception being Laurent Rodier whom belongs to its respectful owner. If you come across an NPC that you think fits your character to the letter. Do not hesitate to contact me and perhaps we can form somesort of In-character contact or replace the NPC with your character.
I am aware that the length of this story may scare people off, and I can hardly blame them. Counting a total of 32 pages. As you read. I would like to remind you that I unfortunately suffer from Dyslexia. Hence why I would really appreciate feedback, even if it isn't the best of sorts. I'm all up for improving, both in writing as well as in character creation. Happy reading. - Brynwulf/Khaiden.
A fair wind breezed throughout the streets of the city of Shornhelm, the streets were nearly empty if it wasn't for the few chickens, bottles and the occasional cat or homeless dog, it wouldn't take long until these streets would return back to life at the dawn of the new morning, but naturally there were those who were unfortunate to be woken up from their slumber before appointed time.
Khaiden muttered a curse beneath his breath as the cock-a-doodle-do of the rooster which lived in the garden at the back of the inn woke him up from his peaceful dreams, and what a dream it was. Lately Khaiden found himself night after night in a green valley filled with blooming flowers and a bright blue sky, in the distance children played happily in the farm fields before the strong and thick walls that made up Shornhelm's defenses, banners were caught by the wind as the few guards patrolled across the city walls, stopping to wave at the handful of merchants that were making their way through the giant wooden gate that stood open for all. A smile and laugh marked the lips of each. A land of beauty and peace, eventually Khaiden would hear the voice of a woman as sweet as honey call out his name from behind, when he turned Khaiden looked to a small hill with a humble farm build right on top, smoke coming out of the chimney and the smell of a good meal raising through the air. At the door stood a beautiful woman holding the hand of a little girl. The girl's eyes became wider at the sight of Khaiden and the woman gently let go off her soft little hand and beckon her toward him. "Daddy!.. Come on and play!.." The girl would yell as the woman behind her stroked her long hair out of her face and smiled warmly at Khaiden, a slight smirk on her lips. When the girl reached him, Khaiden squatted and opened his arms so he could embrace her, however usually at this point is where he was forced to wake up again. As it is with any dream, eventually. You'll have to wake and face reality.
Khaiden sighed as he shook his head and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, turning onto his back in the bed to look up at the fell lights of the burning candles of the chandelier which slowly dimmed as his eyes adjusted. He didn't find himself in a cozy room or warm bed alongside his wife and child. He wasn't even married yet. No this morning Khaiden woke up in an old rented room at the local inn, which wasn't even that well cleaned. After a few minutes had past, he finally managed to move his feet out from beneath the sheet and onto the cold wooden floor, which squeaked a little under his weight as he pushed himself up completely. While he rubbed the palms of his hands over his eyes once more in the hope to get rid of his sleep the best he can he nearly tripped over an old bottle that laid on the floor. Grumpy and annoyed Khaiden kicked the bottle out of his way before stumbling toward the small table near the door, a filled bowl of water stood on top with a mirror hanging above it. Khaiden reached his hands into the water and patted his wet fingers carefully over his face before dipping his hands again and stroking them through his long dirty blond hair. A bath was a luxury for the days to come so this would have to make due.
With the water still dripping down his face and hair Khaiden glimpsed into the mirror briefly to watch his reflection, in the back of the room he could see a piece of paper laying on an old and dusty desk. a letter he wrote the night before for his mother whom he promised to write occasionally, naturally it was meant for his father just the same but he never wrote back. He was too busy being a 'man' Khaiden told himself as he grinned at the thought of his father and him. While they love each other, the two rarely would speak about things that troubled them greatly, women, or other matters of the heart. This was mother's place. To the right of the desk, in the chamber's corner stood a small table, the candle on it was still lit, it would seem the small flame survived through the cold night as it waved gently by the soft breeze throughout the room. the fire reflecting of the steel surface of his shield, sword as well as pieces of armor that were laid upon the table.
Khaiden's tired expression turned into a gentle smile when he turned around, walking up to the desk, shoving the chair backwards before sitting down, shoving himself forward again to sit straight against the desk. He tilted the corner of the letter up with his hand in the direction of the nearby candle to shine some light onto the page.
"Dear mother.. I apologize that it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote to you or father, I hope everyone is alright and how is the business with the smithy? Is Lynna still hiding her crush for Olivir of the Evermore family? All these things I'm missing, and I might never receive an answer of. I've finally received another mission from Captain Greenford. It’s been approximately three months since the bandit incident.. Even though it still somehow feels like yesterday. Though the Captain is convinced that this mission should fall to me, thus I accepted it. Supposedly there is even a reward in it. Later this evening I shall leave Shornhelm by horse and make my way to the estate of the Locksley's. A family whom has received their wealth through horse breeding, military horses to be precise. Apparently Lord Locksley used to serve under the banner in his earlier days alongside Captain Greenford when he was still a recruit. I have no clue what my mission requires of me, but if I succeed. Lord Locksley promised me one of his horses. A real knight horse. those are worth a good three months payment.. I'll lit a candle at the chapel of brother Nathan for the family's safety. I have to pick up Bo there as well, he gave her shelter since dogs were not allowed within the inn.
Be safe and know I'll miss you and the family. Sincerely. Your son -..."
Khaiden read from the letter, reaching for the small ink bottle and quill when he noticed he forgot to add his own signature, doing so underneath the letter. folding the letter up afterwards and binding a ribbon around it to keep it from opening. Khaiden left the folded letter on the table for the time being as he rose up from the chair and walked up to the small table where he left his armor. He reached for the mail jerkin and pulled it over his head, the chain mail glide down his body, covering his chest and a large amount of his arms. From there he began to place and adjust the several iron plates that would make up his greaves and leg guards. With a silent grunt he tried to slip his feet into the plated boots. "Finally.." He thought when his foot finally slipped inside, fastening the wraps at the side before getting his other boot on. When that one was fastened as well he grabbed his cuirass, luckily for him the shoulder guards as well as cloth piece that would cover the majority of the chainmail skirt were attached to it already, Khaiden hated all the time he had previously spend on putting on a chest plate, back plate and the other parts separately so with some help from his father he had it all combined. He untied the two side straps at each side of the cuirass to open it, else his arms wouldn't be able to slip in, pulling it over his head afterwards and fastening the straps afterwards. Khaiden turned a little so he could see the mirror. He couldn't help but to grin a little when he saw himself in his armor once more. It gave him a feeling of pride. He knew too well that as a boy, wearing the armor was his greatest wish.
But that seemed to be a lifetime ago, just like in his dreams. Eventually. People have to wake up to reality. The stories of heroes fighting great battles and facing even greater armies had long slipped from Khaiden's mind. After years of service he knew too well the true nature of warfare and everything around it. Dreams of glorious battles got shattered in mere seconds at his first battle. Guts, blood and screams. Good men ripped to shreds and one thing bothered Khaiden endlessly, the single quote. "At least he died with honor.." A term often said by military leaders or nobility whom never had stepped a foot on a battlefield. Commanding men behind a wooden desk as pawns on their own play field. But despite all this. Khaiden knew what he fought for, thus geared up as a good, humble soldier.
After he put on and fastened his forearm guards, upper-arm guards and elbow guards, he slid his fingers into his gauntlets, reaching for his sword and carefully sliding it into its sheathe, grabbing his shield afterwards. It was time to leave he thought to himself as he grabbed the sealed letter from the desk and walked toward the door, grabbing a sack that stood nearby. filled with supplies, food and other tools for the journey. After he left his room he locked the door behind him and went to the end of the long corridor to take the stairs down into the inn's bottom floor. Ah, Khaiden. Leaving so soon? Well good luck and I'll be waiting for your stories, if you do return." The bartender said from behind the counter, cleaning a pile of empty tankards, causing Khaiden to look up with a soft grin as he tossed a small leather pouch and the key of his chamber to the bartender whom luckily catches it just in time. Afterwards he left the inn.
As soon as Khaiden walked outside, a young man was sitting on a barrel at the other side of the street, at his feet a bag filled with letters, documents and other papers. The young man had already noticed Khaiden and gave the soldier a cheeky smile before jumping off the barrel. "Good morning, I'm here as promised." the young man said as he walked up to Khaiden with his bag. "Not a minute too late. Here it is, I trust on it that it'll arrive in the right hands, my friend?" Khaiden handed the sealed letter over to the young man, whom inclined his head and nodded briefly at him to answer Khaiden. "How much will it cost me? Khaiden added as he reached into a satchel that was attached to his belt. The young man chuckled quietly before shaking his head firmly. "Nothing, Khaiden. After all. If it wasn't for you I would still be picking up my teeth from the tavern floor after my little disagreement with that sellsword." The young man said as he gave Khaiden a smack against his shoulder before tucking Khaiden's letter away in his bag and walking off to deliver it at once. Leaving Khaiden in the middle of the street, grinning at the memory of that night.
He couldn't help but to leave with mixed feeling, as much as he gladly accepted the chance to help his old comrades and Captain, he also developed a good relationship with a handful of people within Shornhelm these last three months. From the Rodane delivery boy, to Heranuel the baker and butcher and so many more. One of them was Mirelda, the tailor’s daughter and by Mara and Dibella alike. What was she kind and beautiful. Khaiden and her had shared several drinks and conversations these past three months and Khaiden eventually even fell for her kindness. Though he did not tell her this. " How I wish that I could exchange my medals and courage in duty, to gather the strength to pursue matters closer to heart.." Khaiden thought to himself time from time, at some point he even bought her some flowers though when he and Mirelda met up again, his experience as a soldier and courage couldn't help him from becoming frozen in his tracks, and shiver as a shy little boy. The things she did to him..
But he would have to face her once more before finally leaving Shornhelm, after all he asked her a small favor, stitching the holes in his old cloak. So Khaiden made his way through the empty street, although it wouldn’t take much longer till the majority of people within Shornhelm would wake up and tend their daily business. He stopped dead in his tracks before a small building in between two bigger houses, in front of the building was a small plateau with railing, which Merilda was already sweeping with her broom until she noticed Khaiden. ”Oh! Please don’t arrest me, sir! I’m just cleaning up. I swear!” Merilda yelled at him, followed by a laugh while she put away her broom against one of the columns that kept the roof above the plateau. ”I’m sorry, ma’am. But my orders are clear, in the name of the king, I hereby arrest you for not having your shop open yet.” Khaiden answered as he walked up the small stairs onto the plateau, keeping his hand on the pommel of his sword, smiling cheeky at Merilda. She shook her head briefly at him. ”You have some guts, Khaiden. Do you have any clue how early I had to wake up for you? Not to mention I had to work an hour longer than usual yesterday, to fix your darn cloak. Here it is though.” Merilda gave him a brief frown before smiling back at the man. Turning herself to the single bench that stood on the plateau and picked the folded blue cloak up, turning back while she unfolded it. ”Alright.. Stand still, soldier boy.” She said, walking around Khaiden so she could attach top corners of the cloak to the two shoulder pad buckles, in the meanwhile Khaiden made a knot in the two linen strings in front of his neck to make sure it wouldn’t slip off.
Merilda brushed the small amount of dust off the cloak before turning around Khaiden, crossing her arms and turning her head a little as if she was inspecting him from top to toe. Making sure the cloak fitted him. ”I’m sure you’ll make the right impression for this noble Lord or at least make some ladies swoon off their feet.” Merilda said, a smirk slipping through her lips. Khaiden returned the smirk as he gently stroked the cloak a bit over his right shoulder to make sure the cloak itself wasn’t dragged over the ground. He turned around to walk off the plateau and back onto the street, stopping dead in his tracks afterwards before turning around once more to Merilda whom already continued to clean the plateau further. A sigh escaped Khaiden as he tried to muster some additional courage. “Oh, Merilda..” He muttered just loud enough for her to hear, Merilda tilted her head and looked back at Khaiden, stroking a few locks of her hair out of her face as she looked at him, a light twinkle in her eyes as if she was hoping to hear something she had been waiting for. “ I.. I thank you for your company and help these past few months, it has been really appreciated. Please watch yourself in my absence alright?” Khaiden said, once more he was unable to say the words that laid on the tip of his tongue. Merilda smiled softly at him, nodding briefly. ”You too, Khaiden.. Be careful.” She answered before hanging her head and continue her work.
Khaiden inclined his head briefly, turning around and making his way to the gate in order to leave the city, he pondered about his stupidity and lifted his gauntlet to his face to smack himself gently. “ Smooth.. Very smooth. ” He whispered, passing the handful of guards that stood guard around the opened gate, their pole-arms aimed high to the sky. When he passed the last two guards stationed outside Khaiden followed a sand road alongside the wall to the east until he came across a two small stables, walking into the first one that met the road. A stable boy just came outside of the stable when Khaiden walked up to it, in his hands the boy held the reins of a rather large Tobiano skinned horse, which probably had seen better days. The horse’s name was Brista, and she belonged to Khaiden’s family. Originally she pulled Baldwyn’s cart when they would make the journey from their small settlement to one of the cities or farmers at the foot of the mountains. “Here she is, all saddled and fed for your journey, Khaiden.” said the boy while handing the reins of Brista to Khaiden, whom took it and gently stroked his hand over the her mane. ”Thank you, she’ll have a long journey ahead of her, but hopefully the last, also.. What do we have here?..” Khaiden replied, reaching down with his hand behind the boy’s right ear, and with a grin he pulled his hand back, revealing a coin in the palm of his hand. With a chuckle and a sparkle in his eyes the boy eagerly grabbed the coin and thanked Khaiden before walking back into the stable to tend to the other horses.
Khaiden turned himself around, hooking his shield in place on the saddle, He pulled his cloak over his shoulder again to adjust it then with a pant he pulled himself up and into the saddle, but not without some difficulty. ”Either I’m getting older or I need to get used to this armor again.. Let’s just say it’s the armor.” he muttered with a grin, grabbing the reins tightly in his hands and tapping his heels onto the thighs of Brista, whom rose her head and whinnied before slowly starting to gallop down the sand path and then onto the road. Khaiden followed the road for roughly an hour, as the sun rose from behind the hills and city walls in the distance. The windows of the farm houses alongside the road opened one by one as the everyday people finally all woke up, eventually Khaiden took the right path when he reached a crossroad, the left path continuing over the fields, the right leading into a small forest in which a monastery was located. A giant iron fence going all around it. Khaiden passed through the gate which was left open for him, after all he was expected since he had to take care of one little thing before finally going forth onto his mission. Brista galloped around the fountain that stood as the center piece of the monastery square, eventually stopping In front of the main chapel. With some care Khaiden let himself slip out of the saddle, the pieces of plate and chainmail rattling at the landing. ”Here we are..” went through his mind as he walked up to the chapel doors and opened them with both hands until the opening was just wide enough for him to go through. The inside of the chapel itself was quite the sight to see, several stone columns stood at each side, making a path from the door to the altar at the end of the chapel. Candles were lit and flowers were twirled around these columns. Against the walls hung some paintings and other decorations. But despite all this, the chapel appeared to be empty beside Khaiden. ”Perhaps he’s occupied at the moment, this will grant me a chance of prayer.” He thought to himself as he followed the drape to the altar where he knelt down onto one knee, resting his right elbow onto it with lowered head.
”Almighty Eight, forgive me my plea, for I am confident that I am one of hundreds, if not thousand whom sit on bended knee, asking guidance and strength for their battles, to fight their ghosts and demons, big and small. And you can’t reach down and sweep the troubles off each of us at the same time. But yet, here I find myself praying to all of you, not for myself. For if I am to fall on the quest that fate as put me on. I’ll fall with my head held high and the names of those I hold dear in my mind, whispered into the wind with my last breath before taking my place in Arkay’s embrace. So I ask, in my absence of them. Watch over my family and friends as they’ve watched over me these past three months. Grant them the health and happiness they deserve and I wish them. Shield them from harm and the troubles of conflict and war for I willingly bare these for each of them, hence my sword, hence my armor. Please eight. Grant me victory, not for myself but for those who stay behind, those who’ll live on. When I would fall. This is my plea..”
The chapel hall turned quiet for a brief moment, until the sound of footsteps echoed through the building, Khaiden turned his head into the direction of the sound, from behind one of the columns a man dressed in a white robe stepped forth, the man seemed to be in his late fifty’s, the top of his head shaved, leaving a trail of brown with a mix of grey hair around his the bald spot. His face shaved clean. Alongside the man stood a dog which immediately ran toward Khaiden the moment she saw him. ”I could not help but to overhear your plea Khaiden, compassionate as always I see. Perhaps there hides a priest of the eight divines somewhere underneath those plates, or any of the eight in specific if that is your wish.” The priest smiled gently at the sight of the dog which stroked its head up against Khaiden’s leg, its tail waggling happily. ”It would seem she missed you, such a beautiful creature.. I am glad she’ll accompany you. Shall I bless your sword before you leave for this quest of yours?” Added the man, stepping forward and spreading both arms with open hands to accept the sword from Khaiden, whom smiled at the priest before nodded at him. Taking forth the sword out of its scabbard and carefully laying it in the priest’s hands. ”Perhaps when my hair turns grey, until then. It’s a soldier’s life for me. You have my thanks, Brother Nathan. I hope Bo wasn’t too much of a trouble? How long has she been here?” Khaiden said, turning his head to Bo whom sat next to Khaiden now, looking up at him with her tongue sticking out of her mouth, panting a bit. As if she was clearly aware that she was the topic of discussion.
”Two days now, your father left her here and your horse, I took the liberty to deliver your horse at the stables yesterday, I do think you would make an excellent man of the faith. Believe it or not, but your experience with the sword would be of great aid to the divines. Bandits and other misguided men for example..” Nathan walked up to altar and laid the sword down onto a white cloth. Khaiden followed him to study the progress from a distance, looking how Nathan rolled up his long sleeves and then grabbed the clay jug on the altar’s corner, carefully pouring drips of water over the sword’s blade before folding the cloth around it and closing his eyes, muttering a phrase. ”It is done, may it serve you well. Brother Nathan turned back to Khaiden after unfolding the cloth, giving Khaiden his sword back whom slid it away back into the scabbard. ”Once again, I thank you for your care. Be safe. Brother Nathan.” Khaiden replied, turning around to follow the drape back to the door, halfway he heard brother Nathan speak to him once more though. ”Oh, Old and foolish me.. Khaiden, My boy! Wait, wait. I had something else for you too. If I only knew where I left it..” Khaiden’s eyebrow raised, confused as to what Brother Nathan still had for him. He waited, looking at the man whom stood in front of the bookcases alongside the right side of the chapel, going through pots and moving aside books and other oddities.
”Here it is.. I knew I had left it around here somewhere.” Nathan walked up to Khaiden, in his hands a medallion in the shape of a horn. With the care, only elders possessed Nathan carefully laid the medallion in Khaiden’s hand, closing his own hand on top of the man’s, patting on the medallion briefly. ”Until we meet again, Son of Stendarr. He is your favorite is he not?” Nathan smiled up at Khaiden before letting go and walking back to the altar. Khaiden turned his head abit as he opened his palm to take a closer look at the medallion. He recognized the horn from the book covers of his book about Stendarr. He pulled the chain over his head and tucked the medallion away beneath the cuirass. Whispering thank you in Nathan’s direction before finally leaving the chapel. Bo following him with just a feet in between.
Outside, Khaiden immediately climbed back into the saddle, carefully Brista began to gallop once more. It would seem she kept Bo’s location in mind so she wouldn’t trample the dog. The two were used to each other’s company. Khaiden followed the road back to the crossroad he had previously been, this time he turned left, continuing the path that led through the fields. He stayed on it for a good two hours, stopping once to take a drink out of his goatskin, allowing Bo and Brista a sip as well, though the two quickly preferred drinking out of the nearby pond. Ungrateful bastards. Eventually Khaiden saw an estate in the distance, a stone wall surrounded the hill it stood upon, down below a handful of stables and farms. This was the place, no doubt about it. Khaiden figured as he rode up to it, greeting the few workers he came across on the road. When he reached the gate of the stone wall, Khaiden dismounted Brista and walked up to the oaken gate, knocking his gauntlet onto it several times until a panel in the gate itself slid open, one of the guards stood at the other side peeking through. ”Hail stranger, do you have business here?” The guard said, looking to Khaiden with a stern expression. Khaiden kept himself quiet while reaching for a folded note in his satchel, handing it through the opening to the Guard before answering. ”I’m here on request of my Captain and Lord Locksley to discuss and execute an assignment arranged by both parties. This is the estate of the Locksley’s is it not?”
The guard’s expression became softer, opening the folded note and taking a quick glimpse over it, muttering some of the phrases that were written. ”Ah, so you’re Khaiden Knighton. Yes, yes.. Lord Locksley is awaiting you in the dining area, second floor. As always.. When he isn’t doing business the man is eating. Either way. Let me open this gate for you and I’ll personally take you to him.” From behind the door Khaiden could hear the locks being opened until the guard pushed the left door of the gate open for Khaiden and his two four-legged companions to pass through. Welcome to the Locksley Estate. One of the many horse-breeders across Highrock. You can leave your horse here, I doubt it’ll take long and before I forget, please leave your dog outside as well.. The young Lord isn’t too keen on them. Bitten as a boy you see. ” Khaiden nodded in understanding, turning his hand to Bo to command her to stay behind before following the guard further and into the estate. As the two went up the stairway the guard turned his head to Khaiden briefly and spoke again. ” Honestly, I pity you.. Not many would volunteer to accompany that little brat. Leave alone watch over him but I take it you’ll be paid good for it or you just have more patience than most. Don’t let him know I said that though.. “ Khaiden looked at the man with surprise, he wasn’t informed about his mission in real depth so hearing this made him rather surprised and curious to his assignment. He answered with a simple ”Who?” ”You don’t know yet? Well, you’ll soon enough. Since here we are. I’ll see you outside in several minutes.” The guard added as the man stopped in front of a door, opening it for Khaiden and then stepped to the side so he could pass, closing it after him when Khaiden stepped inside.
It was a big dining area, with a long table going all the way from one side to the other in center. Drapes hanging down from the walls in the house’s colors. This was the first time that Khaiden was inside such a large estate and he was quite grabbed by It at first. At the table sat a man in a large oaken chair. His attire made from silk in vibrant colors. Adorned a silver belt buckle, a golden necklace and several rings around the man’s fat fingers, and big belly. The man burped for a moment before noticing that Khaiden entered the dining area, turning his head to him. ”Oh! You must be Khaiden Knighton, forgive me for my manners. Not born a noble man. I am the Lord of this house and friend of your Captain Greenford.” The Lord said as he stood up from the chair, holding his hands on his belly to take on a proud and confident pose, leaving a stain on his silk attire when he reaches one hand to Khaiden whom accepted it and shaked the Lord’s hand, when they both took their hand back. Khaiden carefully wiped his fingers at the back of his cloak making sure the Lord didn’t see it, such sticky fingers.. ”A pleasure, Lord Locksley. I can tell you still have your soldier’s hand and posture. I’m sure the ladies are lining up and the men cower.”” Khaiden said, putting up his best fake smile he possible could, slightly disgusted by the man. ”Ladies? Oh no no!.. I’m happily married. No I wouldn’t – couldn’t.. How about yourself, Khaiden? It is alright if I call you by your name I hope? It reminds me how I used to address my old comrades.. And please, sit down. Help yourself to something to eat and drink” Lord Locksley eagerly helped himself to another sweet roll from the pile that was on the plate, devouring it in less than five bites. Chums falling from his mouth onto his belly or were stuck in his gray beard. ”Thank you and no, I still have to find the ‘one’, until then I’m married to my duty. I take it you miss your life as a soldier?... …….?” Khaiden replied, shoving back one a chair to sit down, taking a single sweet roll from the pile and taking a small bite from it. Lord Locksley had taken another sweet roll in the meanwhile and already ate most of it, stopping for a moment to sigh. ” The name is Bedore and sometimes.. Though after I got married, my loving wife insisted I’d practice the art of business and horse-breeding over swordsmanship, her family been doing this for a while now. It’s safer than swinging a sword around and has.. other perks.” Lord Bedore patted onto his belly, food apparently being one of these perks. Khaiden grinned for a bit in reply. ”Where is Lady Locksley then if I may ask? Comrade Bedore.” Bedore looked up at Khaiden, a wide smile on his face. Sitting more straight into the chair as he tapped his greasy fingers against each other ”Comrade? How exciting!.. As for my wife, she’s on a trip to see her sister in Wayrest. The witch is getting married and thank the divines for that. Then she doesn’t visit us anymore so often and nag at me. Which takes me to our business and your assignment. Comrade Khaiden.” Bedore answered as he got up from his chair and instructed Khaiden to follow him to the nearby window. From through the window Khaiden could see a handful of horses that were kept behind the estate and inside the stone walls, beautiful one by one.
”You see, My wife has the tendency of spoiling our son with everything his heart desires. I fear though that it has left him a little bit.. Arrogant.. Stubborn, ignorant, rude. And the list goes on. He desires to become a real Knight, I'd rather see him like us, soldiers, real men but with my wife insisted. So I have found him a proper mentor in Shornhelm but over my honor as soldier and father. I’ll not sent him an ignorant boy who'll even insult his mentor. My good name would be shamed. So Captain Greenford and I agreed that he is to travel with you to your encampment and assist the men there in the Reachmen problem the Captain is having. He promised me he and his men could get some sense in the boy. Since you were close at hand and seemed like a suitable candidate for the job. Here you are and as promised. When my son returns, changed and in one piece. There is your reward. As for my son, Be soldier rough on him, but don't harm the boy” Bedore explained, pointing to the white stallion among the horses. Khaiden looked at the horse and couldn’t help but to smile at the magnificent animal. ”I’ll do my up most best. I’ve dealt with my little sister during her bad days. I’m sure your son isn’t as-..” Khaiden was interrupted when a screeching shout echoed through the estate, for all to hear inside and outside. ”I said!.. I wanted my light blue cape!.. NOT my blue one! You bloody twat! Does this go with my eyes!? Does it!? Get me my light blue cape or I throw you in between the pigs for a month!” The voice declared. Khaiden looked around, shocked by the sudden outburst then looked at Bedore whom showed a sign of panic. “I fear you might be wrong.. Let’s go outside and send you two off. I’ll meet you at the gate with my son.”
Bedore patted Khaiden onto his shoulder pat as he passed the man, leaving through a back door at the other side of the dining area where Khaiden entered the room. For a moment longer, Khaiden looked through the window down at the white stallion, turning around to leave the room as well. When he walked outside there were a handful of servants waiting at Khaiden’s horse, next to Brista stood another horse, one of the servants was busy attaching a saddle and saddlebag. The guard which led Khaiden to Lord Locksley was also waiting with the other servants. ”I take it that you’ll accompany the young lord after all then? Honestly, I thought you would be gone like the wind after that outburst. We could hear it from here.” The guard smiled at Khaiden with a grin, leaving Khaiden to wonder if the man was being serious or teasing him. Either way, Khaiden stood next to him, awaiting the young lord’s arrival. ”I’ve survived some battles in my life, I’m sure I’ll survive this.”, “Well, we’ll see soon enough, there comes the little devil.” The guard replied to Khaiden’s statement.
Accompanied by his father, as well as one more servant whom held the young man’s cape up from behind him, the three approached the group of guards and servants gathered near Khaiden. The young man whom was half a head shorter than Khaiden walked with head held high, adorned in fine steel armor and his mid-length brunette hair kept behind his ears. ”He walks like a king, but acts like a boy.. Peacock.” Khaiden could hear the guard mutter quietly from his side, though Khaiden couldn’t help but to agree. The young man did seem to show off an aura of arrogance the way he walked. When the three got close, the servants and guards bowed for a brief moment to the young lord, the young man smiling as if he expected nothing less, he raised an eyebrow at Khaiden when he noticed that Khaiden did not grant him the same favor, ”Ahum..” the young man said, from behind him. Lord Locksley made a quick motion with his hands toward Khaiden, signifying him to take a bow as well, almost begging him to. With a quick roll of his eyes, Khaiden bowed briefly to the young man, turning the young man’s raised eyebrow in a smile once more.
“You must be Khaiden Knighton then, my father already praised your name.. But I’ll be the judge of you myself, a pleasure nonetheless. I am Jonathan Locksley.” Khaiden inclined his head to him, figuring that he better not rub the boy’s feathers too soon. ”A pleasure, shall we go on our journey then? Don’t want to keep Captain Greenford waiting.” Khaiden said, walking to Brista and climbing into the saddle, waiting for Jonathan to follow his lead. From underneath Brista’s legs however Bo sprinted forward to Jonathan whom quickly took a step back at the sight of the dog. ”By the eight!.. Keep that filthy animal away from me!.. Father!..” He shouted, trying to shoo Bo away from him, however Lord Locksley held himself quiet. ”Bo come here, Jonathan, May I introduce you to our companion, my dog Bo. She’ll be watching over you as well, perhaps even more than myself.”, Bo ran back to Khaiden after he called for her. ”Fine.. But if she bites me or licks me with that foul tongue!..” Jonathan proclaimed, walking a large circle around Bo, keeping a constant eye on the dog whom was wagging her tail excitedly while studying her new play mate. Khaiden chuckling quietly underneath his breath at the sight of the two. One of the guards helped Jonathan get onto his horse and after the young lord sent his farewells to his father and servants in an arrogant manner that came natural to him. They left the estate’s walls and rode out. Much to the relief of Lord Locksley and the rest.
The two began to follow the main road that would lead around the Wrothgarian mountains and then past Evermore. From there they would have to make their way to the Greenford’s camp at the mountain side, better known as the Reach. Khaiden figured that following the main road, while it would take them longer. Would be safer to travel. He didn’t want to take any chances with bandits or wild animals such as bears and wolves.
”So.. Where do you come from? Shornhelm?” Khaiden heard Jonathan ask as the young man rode closer to him. Briefly looking at Bo with some disgust and fear. The dog laid over the back of Khaiden’s saddle half asleep. Khaiden grinned at the question, or rather the assumption of him being born in Shornhelm. It was only on rare occasions people ever would include the Wrothgarian mountains in their assumptions, but then again. That is the birthplace of most orcs, not Bretons. So he pointed to the big mountains to the west. ”The Wrothgarian mountains?.. You were born and raised among orcs and beasts?..” Jonathan looked up at Khaiden, curious about it even more. ”Yes, though we didn’t live that far in, a small mining settlement of three families. The occasional bear or wolf but never did I encounter any orcs, perhaps if we don’t bother them, they won’t bother us.” Khaiden answered, looking over to Jonathan before concentrating back on the road ahead. Jonathan turned his head as well, keeping himself quiet for a moment before turning back with another question. ”So you’re not of nobility?” Khaiden shook his head. ”And neither am I beneath them, I hope you do not have an issue being accompanied by a commoner?” Khaiden turned his head to Jonathan, his eyes slightly narrowed, looking sternly at him. ” Actually, I asked for a real kni-.. Uhm.. No sir-.. Khaiden.” Jonathan said, quickly rephrasing his words when he stared at Khaiden’s stern impression, fearing the worst outcome. Khaiden’s stern face turned back to its usual calm expression, a gently smile on his lips. ”Good..” He whispered.
The two rode for two more hours, occasionally the two shared words but not extensively, Khaiden was too focused on the road and what happened around them, while Jonathan feared he would upset Khaiden, despite this he still occasionally tried to slip an arrogant remark through the silence but Khaiden kept him in line, eventually the sun began to disappear behind the mountains. So Khaiden decided it would be high time that they would make up camp, leading Jonathan closer to the Wrothgarian mountains until they reached a small opening in the thick tree line. ”We’ll make camp here, so I hope you brought your rug but before we do that, we’re going to hunt now we still have some sunlight left to see what is in front of us.” Khaiden got out of the saddle and unwrapped the binding that was holding a long bow and filled quiver in place. He tossed the quiver to Jonathan whom got out of the saddle as well. After they tied the horses to a tree the two went further into the mountain side, leaving Bo sleeping on the saddle. ”Hmph.. Usually I am the one carrying the bow and the servant the quiver.” Jonathan muttered as the two made their way. ”Funny don’t you think, standing in someone’s else boots for once?” Jonathan heard Khaiden chuckle in front of him before stopping dead in his tracks and raising his hand to instruct Jonathan to stop. Jonathan however took a few steps closer as careful as he could until he reached Khaiden’s side. Up ahead there was a single deer scouting in between the rocks and trees for something to eat. ”Alright.. An arrow please.” Khaiden asked Jonathan whom immediately gave him one. ”Here it goes..” Khaiden brought forth a sigh before standing up straight as he pulled the string of the bow back, releasing the arrow afterwards but Khaiden’s marksman skills were anything but great, or good for that matter and the arrow flew by the deer by several inches. This resulting in Jonathan being unable to hold in his laugh as the deer quickly made a run for it after the failed attempt. ”By the eight!.. That was.. Amusing. My turn. ‘Great ranger’” Jonathan proclaimed, a chuckle still escaping his lips as he grabbed the bow out of Khaiden’s hand. Leaving the quiver at Khaiden’s feet. ”I don’t want to brag but I’ve been hunting since the age of five. I have the eyes of an eagle and the ears of a fox. Give me a target and they’ll regret cross-..” Jonathan walked forward while he boasted his skill with the bow, turning around to Khaiden to show off some of his moves while still walking backwards, not seeing the rock behind him and with a gasp he tripped over, rolling down the small hill. Quickly Khaiden grabbed the quiver and ran forward though stopped at the rock when he looked down and saw Jonathan fell face first in the deer’s still fresh poo. Slowly Khaiden walked down to him, squatting down next to him Jonathan whom looked up with the most disgusting face Khaiden had yet to witness. ”I have to admit, you have some smooth footwork.” Khaiden said as he helped Jonathan back onto his feet. ”Shut up..” Jonathan cursed for a moment, in the meanwhile Khaiden had already ripped off the end of his cape, perhaps for the best since it had already become clear to him that Mirelda had kept the cape too long. So now he no longer had to adjust it. Jonathan accepted the piece of cape and wiped his face with it. ”Urgh that smell.. Thanks though..”
”Happens to the best, buckle up. We got a deer to catch.” Khaiden gave Jonathan a pat on his shoulder, then went into the direction the deer ran off to. Jonathan following. After ten minutes they once more found the deer, this time it actually was standing completely still. Quite gracefully Jonathan pulled back the string after receiving an arrow from Khaiden and released, this time the arrow hit the mark, impaling the deer right into the chest and killing it on impact. There was no way for Khaiden to deny it, but Jonathan beat him fair and square on this one. ”See, I told you I could do it.” He said proudly. ”I have to admit, that was a great shot.” Khaiden gave his quiver back to Jonathan, leaving the young man with both the bow and quiver as he himself went over to the deer and carefully lifted the animal over his shoulders, grabbing it at the legs. With their fresh kill the two made their way back to the horses and began to set up camp. ”I’ll go gather some twigs for the fire then.” Jonathan said and quickly tried to head back into the forest but Khaiden pulled him back and sat the young man down In front of the dead deer, pressing a knife into the man’s hand. ”Nice try, here we have a rule for hunting. You kill it, you skin it. Big beautiful pieces will you?” Khaiden wasn’t let the young man get away from it that easily. Clueless on how to skin the deer Jonathan swallowed in the back of his throat but pretended he wasn’t intimated by this at all and began to cut into the skin of the deer. Khaiden left him there for five – ten minutes while he gathered some branches and twigs, when he came back he noticed how much Jonathan was struggling. ”Need some help? There is no shame if you don’t know how to.” Jonathan looked up at Khaiden, sighing in his defeat. ”That would be appreciated, the servants usually do this for us.” Khaiden smiled and sat down on his knees next to Jonathan, taking the knife from his hand and began to skin the animal, cutting away a chunk of meat afterwards, then handed the knife back and allowed Jonathan to continue, guiding the young man during his learning progress.
When the animal was completely skinned and the usable meat was cut away, Khaiden tossed the remains away further in the woods for the wild animals, making sure it wasn’t too close to their camp. That hopefully should keep the beasts busy for a night. When he returned. Jonathan had made the fire near the rocks, one flat rock laying on top that would shelter the two from awful weather if it decided to change. Piece by piece they cooked the deer, and ate most of what they gathered, giving the left overs to Bo whom couldn’t be happier with each piece she received. When they were finished it was already close to mind night, so they decided it would be high time for a well-deserved rest for tomorrow, they had a longer journey ahead of them.
During that night, Khaiden once more witnessed the same dream, over and over again. The farm, the mysterious woman and the girl. This time though the dream went a little further than the usual scenario where Khaiden would find himself waking up as soon as the little girl would run to him and reach for his arms. On this particular night. The dream became even more struggling, taking a unexpected turn at the moment Khaiden usually found himself with his eyes opened. This time when the girl was about to reach for Khaiden to embrace him, Khaiden could hear a familiar sound echoing through his head, changing his dream entirely. A sound he knew too well, and most soldiers for that matter. The blowing of a horn just before blood would be shed on fields of battle. In his dream, Khaiden looked into the distance behind the girl where an army of shadows, armed with swords and axes came sprinting from the hillside toward the farmhouse. The mysterious woman and girl screamed from the top of their lungs while they ran away from the house, seeking protection behind Khaiden whom stood alone in the fields against this threat.
In an instance Khaiden’s unsheathed his sword from the scabbard on his belt, spreading his feet on the ground and tilting up his oaken shield just high enough for him to look over it and to cover a good portion of his body, a single drip of sweat rolling down his cheek just at the sight of the several dozen shadows whom all seemed focused upon Khaiden. His fingers folded around the sword’s handle with the increased tension, bit by bit the army came closer, seconds which seemed like minutes and then without as much as a word. Khaiden charged forward, into the first dozen shadows. His sword clashing with that of the first shade that met him. The two struggling in a brief moment to unbalance the other though Khaiden succeeded, pushing the shadow back and impaling his sword through the middle of whatever stood before him, it was on this moment the shadow’s face began to show. The face of a man Khaiden could only recognize fadely, a soldier whom died on the third mission Khaiden was ever sent out to. He recalled how the man met his end, three arrows in the back. The man never saw it coming..The face quickly turned back before disappearing into thin air. Unaware of what happened Khaiden pursued the attack, though the more he fought the shadows, the more faces he began to recognize. Friends, comrades even foes. Many whom died, some who still lived then it happened, through the line of shadowy figures Khaiden saw a face that stood out the most, his own. A young boy with wooden sword in hand, his light blue eyes springing out of the dirty blond covered face. Suddenly a near silent gasp of air escaped Khaiden’s lips, losing the feeling in his fingers when his weaponry fell to the ground and he onto his knees. From through his back a spear tip had found its way, into his heart and out the other way. Life escaping his body. From out the shadows the young boy walked through, with some effort Khaiden looked up at his younger self and witnessed how he tilted the wooden sword and brought it down upon him, it was on this moment Khaiden finally got pulled back into the world of the living, breathing heavily as result of the dream.
Jonathan looked up startled by the sudden movement of Khaiden. Nearly jumping up himself with his sword which the young man had laying upon his lap, admiring the craftsmanship as well as giving it a quick cleaning due the dirt that got into the scabbard on his roll down the hill. In between the two laid a pile of ask and the remains of burnt wood, it would seem that unlike them, the campfire did not survive the night. ”Curses, you startled me there, I thought you were going to leap at me.” Jonathan the young man's face received back its color after leaving it white due the startle. In the meanwhile Khaiden sat straight up, stroking his dirty blond locks that were turned into a little mess out of his face before muttering a phrase underneath his breath. ”Already awake? Did you even sleep?” He asked Jonathan while he reached for a bread folded in a blue linen cloth. Opening it and ripping the bread in two. ”Honestly? I slept barely, all because of this armor. How you could sleep like a rose in it is beyond me.” Jonathan complained, taking the piece of bread out of Khaiden's hand and began to eat, crumbs of bread falling onto the ground and disappearing in the tall grass. Khaiden couldn't help but to laugh, standing up to stretch his arms, the chime of moving arm plates followed. ”Years of practice, boy. You’ll get used to it if you decide to stay on this path” He stated after his short laughter. ”You actually haven't told me where exactly we were going, or what was expected of me.” Jonathan asked from behind him, still eating.
”Well, I recon you’ve all right to know seeing how soon you’ll be pulled into it whether you would want to or not. You, just like me have been assigned to my old friend and Captain, Theodane Greenford. The exact details will be given when we arrive by the captain himself, until then. All I can speculate from what I’ve been told is that we’ve set up camp in between Evermore and Jehanna at the foot of the mountains, known territory of reach men whom call those mountains their home. Many soldiers and guards find themselves defending the border between the mountains and our cities against the occasional reach raid. So this is hardly a once in a life time mission, but shouldn’t be taken lightly or approached without conscious, else it’ll be your last.” Khaiden began to explain, he had taken a stick off the ground and began to draw the outline of the two cities and then a line that would represent the mountains behind them. Jonathan listening and observing the layout of the sketch. Before making an arrogant boast, or an attempt to cloak his fear. ”I’ve heard that these reach men are nothing more but uncivilized men and women, savages with no brain or leaders to guide them. Even a child could defeat one, you’d be a lesser than those savages if you would fall before them.” He stated, tilting his head chin a little and straighten his back to make himself bigger and broader, not that it really helped in his armor.
This statement however caused Khaiden to look up with narrowed eyes, a frown upon his face where a moment ago was still a gentle smile. Not many things immediately make Khaiden irritated or upset, but something like that definitely was among the few. A statement he took as a sign of arrogance and great disrespect to both enemy and ally. He decided not to argue the boy’s words with harsh words of equal stupidity, instead he stood up without saying another word, taking a few steps away from their quick made camp to pick up another large stick he saw laying on the ground from where he sat. “Good men have died defending you and your family from those raids, you’d be wise not to speak of them with such disrespect in the future. Get up now, and prove to me your boast held truth, or was a product of another boy’s arrogance and wild imagination. You’re not the first to speak highly of your capability, many boys whom receive knighthood or ranks within the army because of their birth have walked the same path, and regretted it greatly.” Jonathan sheathed his sword and got onto his feet, somewhat offended by the tone of Khaiden’s voice, as if he spoke to a young boy.
Jonathan grabbed the stick out of the air Khaiden had tossed toward him, a few feet stood in between them. Jonathan tilted the stick a bit, holding both hands around it as if he was wielding a claymore, his eyes focused on Khaiden whom just stood in front of him, staring back. His stick held down as if he was waiting for Jonathan to make the first move. Then with a loud scream Jonathan made the first attempt, charging blindly forward with the stick and tried to sweep it from the side to Khaiden’s cuirass. Leaving his defense right open, an opportunity Khaiden immediately took. He was by no means going to be easy with the young man. Before Jonathan would hit, Khaiden had already tapped the tip of his sword against Jonathan’s chest as he stepped forward with a sideway turn, pushing Jonathan’s stick out of his way as he stepped beside him and smacked his elbow guard against the back of Jonathan’s neck, pushing the young man forward before turning around to retake his stance. ”Rule one, a fight is won with more than strength alone, footwork and coordination are key. No amount of blind charges or arm thickness will reflect a sword into your belly. Boy.” He said, his tone holding a clear scent of mockery to Jonathan whom as well had already taken up his fighting position once more. ”Big words for a mere soldier!.. Just wait until I'm a Knight!” Jonathan shouted, the stick shaking a little in his hands, fearing the worst reaction from Khaiden. This time Khaiden stepped forward to bring down several quick blows with his sword to Jonathan. “Spare me the foolishness that are Knights. I know 'mere soldiers' who would bring your most precious Knights to their knees. Knighthood is nothing more than noble boys, thinking themselves above other men.” Khaiden replied during his blows, which Jonathan successfully managed to block as he kept being forced back, a step at each blow. This however made Jonathan quite tired, so before Khaiden could continue landing blows, he quickly put his hand forward during his panting.
”Just wait until you meet my mentor, I've heard he killed a dozen men with a single blow and let me catch my breath..” He said, resting his hands onto his knees for a moment. Khaiden lowered the stick and smiled gently at Jonathan, turning around to walk a small circle as he spoke. ”Such a heroic mentor you have, but of course, the young lord is tired, so he deserves a rest. Want a sweet roll with that too? Come on, Jonathan. Stand straight, I'll bring my weapon from the right side, keep your feet balanced and try to block it alright?” Khaiden said in a kind manner, standing back in front of Jonathan with the stick ready. Jonathan looked up to him, abit confused about what Khaiden said due the tone he was using, unsure if the man was serious or being sarcastic, though he got back into position in order to block Khaiden's upcoming blow, unaware that Khaiden had another plan, instead of swinging stick from the direction he mentioned. He swung it from the left, before Jonathan had the chance to adjust his position accordingly, Khaiden had already hit the side of Jonathan's arm, as Jonathan brought forth a painful groan Khaiden came forward with his shoulder to the boy and knocked Jonathan off his feet, causing the young man to fall onto his back. ”Rule two, never expect your opponent to do what you tell them or expect them to. Not in a tournament, especially not in battle. These are men out to kill you. Do not grant them a second of rest. Always focus, always adjust, and maybe, you'll always live through the fight and rule three, if you fall, you're dead.” Khaiden continued to instruct Jonathan whom still groaned for a moment on the ground due the smack he made. Bo had made her way to the fallen young man and licked Jonathan's face briefly but Jonathan quickly pushed her to the side.
”By the eight!.. You gave your word! You have no honor!.. How dare you to treat me like this! I am a noble's son! Just wait till my father hears of this! You're beneath me! I'll become a legend!” Jonathan shouted as he looked to Khaiden, shouting from the top of his lungs. This caused Khaiden's bucket to drip over, he dropped the stick out of his hand and brought his hand to the sword on his belt, unsheathing it rapidly and as he turned to face Jonathan he aimed it to down to the boy, stopping the tip an inch away from Jonathan's nose. ”And yet, here you lay on your back. 'Beneath' me.. Pick your following words with care. And no, I do not, neither do I fight to become a legend. Honor and glory is a lie, a myth. A fairytale among humanity, an excuse to make your death worth more than it is. Do you think your wife or child will mourn your death less, if you died with honor? Honor does not return you to your wife's arms, it won't help you see your children grow up. It'll leave them without a father. Children wishing nothing more but to see their dad, one more time. A wife struggling to move on, knowing that the one she loved perished and for what? A medal. To be remembered a hero instead of a simple man. You strive for honor and glory, yet are blind to those who'll be affected in your pursuit of it. Put your honor and glory aside, Jonathan, fight for something more than that.” Khaiden said, a harsh voice turning soft and gentle once more at the end of his speech. This sudden outburst apparently shocked Jonathan, whom just looked up in awe, letting Khaiden's words sink into his mind.
”I-.. I'm sorry, I didn't realize.. I know I am an arrogant brat at times..“ Jonathan muttered, with a sigh, embarrassed about his action. ”Recognizing your end of the issue, is the first path that leads to redemption. At least my father used to tell me that. Every time I got angry at him in my youth.” Khaiden said as he reached for Jonathan's hand, helping the young man back onto his feet, placing his sword back into its scabbard after. ”Sounds like a wise man, I wished my father had the time to grant me such wisdom.” Jonathan answered, dusting his armor off. The thought of his father being a wise man made Khaiden laugh, even quickly making him stroke away a tear. ”A wise man.. Perhaps he had his moments. From your words, it sounds as if your father and you have some issues to work out?” Khaiden walked back to the camp to roll up the rugs, preparing to leave within moments. Jonathan quickly began to help him as he continued to explain. ”Well, it is just that.. He always is busy with the horses, or away for his work. He says mother spoiled me. Which she may have but for once. I would just like it to have a day with my father.. But he never has time, so instead of asking. I've began to demand with my rudeness as result.” Khaiden felt some pity for Jonathan when he heard the young man's side of the story. He could imagine how that would feel. ”It seems you and him need to have to talk when you come back home. Be honest to each other. As difficult as that may be as men. I'll promise you though. If you listen to Captain Greenford and I. You'll return a man your father would be proud of.” Khaiden said while he tucked the rag back into one of the saddlebag satchel's on Brista's back.
”I.. I would like that, thank you Khaiden. One more question though, you claim not to find for honor and glory but then what is it. You fight for?..” Jonathan asked him after he got into the saddle of horse, riding a bit closer to Khaiden whom just got into it as well and turned his head to Jonathan to answer after holding himself quiet for a few seconds. ”I fight for something so fragile, that even the softest whisper can shatter it into a thousand pieces, but yet something so strong. It can arm an army of men in seconds and willingly would make them march through the plains of oblivion itself.” Jonathan raised an eyebrow, his interesting being caught by Khaiden's description. “What?..” He quickly asked, Khaiden smiled when he noticed Jonathan's interest. ”Hope. Hope of peace, a dream of a bright future. The hope that one day our weapons of war will be monuments of a time long ago, being displayed on the walls and then when my children will look upon my sword. They'll be astonished that such a thing could ever have been and they'll ask me. 'Father, what was war?' Fight for those you love.“ Khaiden said, turning head head and began leading Brista back to the road. Jonathan followed immediately, inspired by the words.
Khaiden led Jonathan to the road they followed the day before, continuing to follow it into the direction of Evermore, according to Khaiden there should be a small inn a couple miles away from Evermore, that would be the perfect place to rest and eat for the upcoming night before arriving into Greenford's camp by morning. Along the way Jonathan remained close to Khaiden's side as they galloped and even occasionally instructed the horses to do a brief sprint to put more miles behind them. The two spoke from to time, it was mostly Jonathan though asking Khaiden several questions about his personal life, if he was actually married or had any children of his own and about his days as a young man in the military. ” I can't help to wonder though, Khaiden. If you're not a knight, how do you explain the willow tree crest upon your chest plate? I assumed it to be your sigil.”, ”Well, you could argue that it is. My father is a smith, like I said. At one point in time I returned home to take care of him when he became ill and to run the smith in his place. When he finally recovered, and thank the eight he had. He insisted on returning me a favor and there is no arguing with my father. So I asked him to trim the giant willow tree that stands right in front of our house. It reminds me of home, where I come from and why I choice this path. It gives me courage, when it is hard to find.” He answered Jonathan whom nodded briefly. ”I like it.” Making Khaiden briefly grin.
The two kept on riding, taking a break every two hours but never longer than fifteen minutes, enough to eat and drink for a little while before moving on, Khaiden had his mind set to arrive the next morning, and thus, he would.
When the day began to turn to night, Khaiden and Jonathan could finally see a single building alongside the road in between a few pine trees. This was the place. “The old traveler, inn.” The sign outside stated when the two rode up to the stable that was build against the right side of the inn. By the looks of the few horses inside, the inn probably wouldn’t be that filled with other travelers, this put Khaiden’s mind to ease, since he worried a little that a too big crowd would not only decrease their chances of a proper bed for the night, but also increased the chances of trouble. Inns like these are not your everyday noble dinner and sleeping places. It belonged to the common folk, and some may not be as fond of some of Jonathan’s remarks than others. They left their horses in the stables alongside Bo whom just made herself comfortable in a pile of hay.
The door of the inn squeaked when Khaiden opened it, behind the counter stood an old lady whom looked up at Khaiden and Jonathan when they stepped inside. “Clean your boots, please.” she asked them kindly. The two men did as told immediate