The group along with the miniature version of the dragon- about a person and a half tall- found themselves in a four way intersection. Stone tiles went in every direction equally… which made the right path confusing… However, searching, they found, would be unnecessary.
Within a moment- from each direction- they were surrounded by wizards, elfa, and Aqayans and even some human guards. Leading the group was another man – who stood a tad taller than the others- but his frail figure took away any sense of intimidation.
“Hello?” the man spoke to the group which had taken a defensive stance to the prepared guards.
While they’d been able to use a spell and halt the attack from three hundred villagers- they were sure to lose against this army of prepared soldiers. In fact- it was mostly due to the fact that the villagers were only under a spell that Narika could break, not because of their strength alone.
Narika walked forward with held up hands to the man showing no desire to fight the forces. Meanwhile Arrowan had already circled his body preparing to defend the rest of the group at all costs. With his help perhaps they could win- but it would be better if there wasn’t a fight.
“You’ll need this,” Venu spoke, handing Narika the parchment.
“Narika carefully placed his hand back to take the parchment then held it up in front of him.
The man took the paper in hand and held his hand up to the guards.
The man spoke, “Infiltrating the castle through magic is a serious issue… and must be dealt with accordingly- however, we will make an exception as Aarock has given you this parchment. Whatever magic brought you here is a serious crime against the kingdom…”
“Sorry…” Narika replied, “Actually we didn’t know anything other than it would bring us to Elon’dara…”
“Even still- you should be careful about such things… Perhaps it was Merth whose portal it was… but that indicates that he was working against us…”
Narika was pretty impressed by the man’s words… looking at the wheels turning in the man’s head… it seemed like he had reason to be in command of the army that was facing them.
Venu however was unsure about them, he felt some sort of hostility, but another part generosity- they warred with each other he felt. That just makes him cautious… he assured himself.
The man ordered the army to separate and motioned to the group, “Follow me.”
The group had nothing else but to follow.
The man looked at the letter as he guided them.
“The letter indicates that you helped Aarock and that Merth was a traitor and that Aarock had to stay back to organize the fallout…” he replied troubled. “That’s very… interesting…”
Narika wondered what was interesting about the statement… a part of him felt like the man in front was lacking a bit.
The man’s rigid expression changed to something more relaxed upon finishing the scroll. The group lessened their tense attitude as the man in front seemed not to have the same skeptical nature.
He opened a large door off the side room to a side hall. What the saw inside was nothing short of grandeur. The ceiling height was perhaps twenty feet- the space inside was enormous; three giant stained glass windows covered the sides – allowing sparkling light inside.
“You all must be tired,” he spoke empathetically… “It looks like you’ve been through a lot…”
Narice after realizing that the man was being sincere replied with a sigh. While part of him was cautious, he didn’t feel in danger.
The man scratched his head… “I believe we got off on the wrong foot…” he spoke with deep eyebrows. “My first priority is lieutenant, host is a distant second and diplomacy… so while I want to apologize for what happened, it is my responsibility to do what I did… so I can only apologize for the fact that you all felt uncomfortable on your arrival… for that I am sorry,” he bowed, “we will do our best to treat you as our upmost guests.”
He bowed deeply to the group. The logic was sound. While it wasn’t the best of apologies- Narika respected the man’s explanation.
Sari replied first, “its okay! Let’s be friends instead!”
Narika smiled after looking at the group with a nod, “we accept your apology…”
The man nodded and gave them a polite smile, “my name is Kale… I am the treasurer and first lieutenant to Aarock…” he then whispered to the group with a hand to his mouth.
“There are much more capable lieutenants than I… I do not dare call myself a man of war,” he smiled, “I pretty much take care of the boring diplomatic things” he said with a sigh. Then he continued an explanation, “Aarock entrusted me with second lieutenant because I am good at political things… I am much more useful as a treasurer… you will meet others later… Sardis is acting head while Aarock is away- you should have a meeting with her by tomorrow evening most likely.”
He looked upwards – as if in thought, started pacing. He raised his finger as if an “aha!” moment hit him.
He pulled out a glowing jewel from thin air. “I believe that Aarock wants you all to feel comfortable… I will entrust you with a ‘kingdom token…’ Bring it to the Great Bank and they will reimburse you with the proper coin. He handed the ‘token’ to Venu- placing it carefully in his hand.
He then began to walk towards the door.
“You should be able to spend up to your heart’s content in the marketplace. Um well, perhaps enough to buy a few houses, but I recommend not doing so. We will provide accommodation.”
He gave them a wink.
“Oh- male and females are usually separate unless married here. This is only temporary- keep in mind…” he bowed once again, “I must take my leave…”
Despite having been so detailed with the explanation- he didn’t leave much of an impression characteristically speaking. He looked frail and Narice felt no resistance that the measurement of his abilities were accurate. The man understood his own weakness well… After the man then vanished from the door – and all that was left was the ‘token’ as a reminder that he was even there.
After the man left them- Narika looked around the chamber. It was definitely a giant room. Each individual had a queen sized bed to themselves and a few left over.
Mika and Sari immediately ran excitedly to the beds and grabbed onto the fluffy pillows with sly grin.
Elera looked over one of the beds and selected one with colorful blue, pink, and white sheets and removed her shoes underneath it – laying back on the bed and relaxing.
Narika took one against the other wall. Mika began to seizing a pillow and knocked Sari from behind- and then ran off laughing. In minutes it seemed that Mika and Sari had both gone from a pillow fight to curling up with each other on one of the beds instantly asleep.
Venu placed his over shirt on the bed closest to the door and sat down for a moment himself.
“I guess we can all go to the market after a quick nap?” Narika spoke.
Elera smiled with a nod and closed her eyes alongside one of the beds
“I think I’ll go for a walk- actually,” Venu replied getting back up after having stretched and changed his over shirt, “don’t worry- I’ll be back before we head out… I just want some fresh air.”
Narika sensed a lie of course, but decided not to push it- if Venu had his reasons for silence- he wasn’t going to pry. He did however raise one eye, surprised that Venu wasn’t tired, but then shrugged and let him walk out of the room quietly.
He then set his own extra items on the side-table and after the dragon nodded to him and went into the jewel around Sari’s neck, he too slept.