Tag Archives: daile

Chapter 1 (6)

CHAPTER I

(Ailintho)

I was observing him carefully, finally being able to do it without restrictions. He was sitting right in front of me and telling the Council of what he had found out about the disappearances in the village. He was handsome indeed but not one of those rich, plain and empty men who were successful with ladies. Judging by his appearance and profession he was rather feared than desired, Daile would be disappointed. He had a very distinctive, though a bit gloomy look with a long triangular face, long nose and pale skin. His brown eyes were big, deep and sad; they were giving me no chance to avoid his glance. They were sending me a serious look under long black eyebrows as if asking ‘Who are you?’

I could have posed to him the same exact question. He wasn’t a common warrior, of this I could be sure. I could sense an active intellect and a deep emotional life in him; the features he were hiding as they were not appreciated in his profession. He could kill hybrids and people, he could have a stone – like face, his appearance could intimidate those less courageous but I was not deceived at all, he was a complex human being, not a killing machine. My gaze wandered to his mouth, it had a beautiful and sensual shape with full lips which made me feel like I wanted to run to him at once and kiss him passionately. ‘Ailintho behave!’, I scorned myself in thoughts. ‘Control yourself and listen to what he is actually talking about!’

‘I was told that three inhabitants of the village were missing in the forest so I went searching. Forgive me if I had trespassed on druid lands, that was not my intention. I usually get along well with druids and clerics and I don’t search for any reasons to quarrel with them.’

Orthus nodded his head.

‘The forest is free from boundaries and we would never attack any travellers who lost their way here.’

I was sitting on his right together with five other druids, that was the whole council of our community. The room was spacious and brightened by the light of setting sun, we have gathered by the round table to listen to the words of a stranger.

‘So did you find any traces when you were exploring the forest?’

‘I did. Not the ones the villagers would think of, though.’

‘They did not seem like hybrid or animal ones, did they?’, I guessed.

‘Neither of them.’

Orthus and I looked at each other instinctively. No hybrid then, just as we expected.

‘So what were these?’

‘Human ones. You have an unexpected guest in your forest.’

A murmur passed through the druids but Wanlorn remained unmoved.

‘But these may be the footsteps of someone from our community!’, Dargo protested. He was responsible for keeping an eye on the forest so implying that someone had bypassed the guards without his knowledge was like an insult to him.

‘Is somebody in your community crippled?’, Wanlorn asked still sending us this severe, serious look.

‘No. Nobody we know’, Orthus responded. I felt anxiety growing slowly in his aura but he remained calm.

‘Then it must be a vagabond’, the warrior nodded his head. ‘One footprint was regular but the other vague, without clear shape. That person must have been halting all the way here.’

Druids began murmuring again. As long as I remembered we have never had an unknown intruder in the forest.

‘The trace begins in the western part of the forest and leads to the northern one, it doesn’t come in any way close to the village situated on the south. Whoever or whatever that was, it is not responsible for the disappearance of the villagers.’

Silence fell after the warrior’s words but was soon broken by Marimo, a druidess responsible for the contacts with villagers.

‘If it’s not a monster or an animal that captured the inhabitants then why do they disappear?’

‘I cannot be sure but I was analysing the situation and I think I have an explanation for that, too’, he leaned back and sat on the chair comfortably. ‘From my recollection of the mayor’s words, it seems there were three cases. The first missing person was a heavy drinker, it’s possible he fell down and drowned in the river while being intoxicated. The waters could have taken his body with their flow. Missing number two seems like a rogue, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone killed him in an argument or revenge and then hid the body. If he hadn’t got any family or friends then no one was determined to find out what happened to him. The third person seems like a decent one but the winter was severe, perhaps he got frozen while being away from the village. As I said, I cannot be sure. But I can see that all three cases don’t necessarily have to be connected to one another nor to the mysterious crippled creature wandering through your forest.’

‘It makes sense’, I nodded. I had to admit he was observant and his conclusions seemed logical. ‘All we need to find out is where our unwanted guest came from and possibly send him there again.’

‘This is what I am going to do, m’am’, he almost smiled looking at me. ‘That’s what they pay me for.’

‘We would be glad if you helped us get rid of an intruder’, Orthus spoke. ‘And our community of druids will add on something more to the sum the villagers will pay you for solving the puzzle.’

‘Very well. I’ll start searching the forest tomorrow in the morning.’

‘We’ll provide you any help you need.’

‘I’d be grateful for a guide. If it wasn’t for Lady Ailintho, I would get lost in the forest’, he bowed his head slightly in my direction and I got angry again sensing his irony.

‘That is correct’, in response I bowed my head, too and raised the left corner of my mouth in a spiteful smile. I was just telling the truth!

‘Sir, you’ll go with Ailintho then’, Orthus stood up from his chair. ‘But first you need to rest. You’ll find a meal, warm bath and a bed in our community, please make yourself comfortable.’

Wanlorn thanked him in just a couple of words and left the room with the rest of druids. I did notice that just before he disappeared he turned his head and looked at me but I pretended I didn’t see it.

‘Who is he, Ailintho?’, Orthus asked when we were alone in the room. ‘What are you sensing in him?’

‘A warrior, but not a typical one’, I answered immediately. ‘He was wearing his helm, which was blocking his thoughts, so I didn’t find out much about him. But I could feel his energy without any problems. He’s intelligent and courageous, that’s for sure, but he’s also hurt and drained emotionally. He must have lost a lot of people who were dear to him.’

Orthus nodded his head.

‘That’s what I suspected, too. I want to send you to search the forest with him because you can read people like writings on a piece of paper, however if you had sensed anything dangerous in him, just tell me and I will send someone else.’

I was thinking for a moment recalling the streams of energy emanating from his body and then I shook my head.

‘No, Master, he is not dangerous. Broken but not dangerous. I have nothing to be afraid of.’

As long as I was in the forest, I was safe from any danger. I bid Orthus good night and went to my chamber. I had to go to bed soon as I was about to get up very early in the morning.

Published under Creative Common License

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Chapter 1 (4)

CHAPTER I

(Ailintho)

Spring was approaching. Earth was not frozen anymore and the air was getting milder and milder. Very well. No more trudging through snow, no more breaking ice in the river to get some water, no more frost paralysing life in all the places, no more chill hurting lungs while breathing. I hated winter. Druids have been teaching us that each season of the year was blessed and each was bringing gifts of its own kind but still I hated winter and could not wait for spring to come. It was not just that the Nature was renewing, it was a change in the atmosphere, in energy, in aura and even in characters. People were getting more serene and behaved better towards one another.

‘We are running out of coriander’, Orthus interrupted my pondering. ‘We will have to wait for the new plants to grow.’

Orthus was the chief druid in our community and a sage respected in all the villages nearby. We were sorting herbs in preparation for the spring, with his position Orthus did not have to do that but he volunteered for that task himself. ‘It calms me down’, he said and we did not object.

The door opened suddenly and Daile entered like a storm. That’s how she usually got into the room, pressing the door handle abruptly and running like the wind.

‘The villagers called a monster hunter’, she exclaimed. ‘He’s in the inn now!’

Orthus and I looked at each other without a word. A couple of weeks ago inhabitants asked the druids for help when the third person disappeared from the village. ‘It must be a monster!’, they muttered. Druids checked the tracks carefully in the forest but found nothing suspicious. Whoever was kidnapping people from the village…if anyone was kidnapping them at all…was neither an animal nor a monster. Apparently, mayor and his people did not believe us.

‘Daile, perhaps you can find us more coriander?’, Orthus said aloud but our young disciple was still excited.

‘They say he’s one of those famous warriors whose deeds are narrated in the chants’, she kept talking and talking. ‘Oh, I would like to see him, he must be handsome!’

‘Go search for coriander, please’, Orthus repeated and Daile had no choice but to follow his orders.

‘Ailintho, I want you to go and check this man’, the chief druid said when we were left alone. ‘It’s not a monster but something IS happening in the forest and I don’t like it. I don’t want that warrior to come here and sniff around, we may end up with the King’s people and the army invading our territories.’

‘Understood’, I nodded and put herbs back. ‘In this case I will go immediately.’

‘Ailintho!’, he shouted when I was opening the door. ‘Be careful in the forest!’

‘Of course, Master’, I smiled. ‘I always am.’

Indeed, I knew forest as if it was my own house. I have lived here with the druids for so long that I didn’t even remember my life before I had got here. I was an orphan and druids adopted me when I was five years old. They and the forest were the only family that I had.

He was close, I could already sense him without going into a state of trance or deep meditation. Thanks to my telepathic skills I immediately tracked the place where the stranger was and ran there immediately. I found him surrounded by the wolf pack and I laughed quietly. He was not as good as Daile claimed. I asked the wolves to go away as it was a matter between two humans, they did and I put the entangling spell on the man. After he was tangled up, I approached him.

He did not look like one of those rich warriors striding around the lands of the kingdom. In fact he seemed rather poor although his gear was first class, I was not familiar with various types of weapons, but his looked mighty. His clothes were not expensive but rather comfortable. But in one things Daile was right, even in such an embarrassing situation for a warrior, he did look handsome. He was tall and slim, had straight short black hair under his helm, pale skin and dark eyes staring at me angrily as if they were burning coals.

‘Thank you for your help, milady’, he spoke first. His voice was low but melodic. ‘Now you can release me, I’m not here to hurt you.’

‘I know’, I answered without confusion. ‘What I am trying to determine is WHY you are here. Alone in the winter forest endangered by the wolf pack…this is not the place for you.’

‘I have my own issues to resolve’, apparently he did not want to speak.

‘Then the druids and I will be glad to help you, that’s what our duty is, to help people. All you have to do is to come to our community and tell us what the problem is. ‘

‘It’s my business and you have nothing to do with that!’, he said angrily trying to free himself from my entanglement spell. I sighed. Why were all the warriors arrogant jerks?

‘Sir, let me put things clear’, I got impatient. ‘You are here immobilised by my spell. If I wish, I can go away and leave you like this, cold, hungry and endangered by the forest animals. Sure, you can break this spell yourself’, I added quickly, feeling that this is what he could be thinking about. ‘But it will take time and energy and you don’t have much of them. So what’s your decision? Will you come to the druids with me or not?’

He sent me an angry look but nodded his head. I stretched my hand and released him from my magic, he straightened his stiff legs and I had to admit they were really nice, long and finely toned, that much I could guess from the shapes hidden in the trousers.

‘We may be searching for the answer to the same puzzle’, I said looking him straight in the eyes. ‘Now walk before me and don’t try any magical tricks to escape, the forest is my ally and will not let you pass without my permission.’

He bowed his head before me ironically and said

‘May I know your name, Lady of the Forest?’

‘Ailintho. Ailintho Kernal, member of the Druid Council’

‘Nice to meet you, Ailintho’, his pretty, full lips were still crooked in an ironic smile. ‘I am Wanlorn, a free warrior and I don’t belong to any councils.’

Now I got angry. I looked at him with disregard and said,

‘I can guess why. Now go!’

He turned round his back on me and went slowly ahead. ‘God and Goddess, please give me patience to arrogant warriors!’, I prayed silently and followed him still being cautious. You can never trust warriors.

Published under Creative Common License

enchanted forest