Luthien the bard walked along the silent halls of the keep, the soft sounds of his leather booted feet, spoke out in stark contrast to the methodical, precise sounds of an honor guard in full plate that walked beside him.
Turning his astute eyes upon the men flanking him, he saw they were both, of similar heights, their armor exact copies of one another polished to an eye straining mirror finish, even their single black gauntlets upon their left hands were polished to mirror sheen. As he made note of these men Luthein was guided to the Lord of the barony and he was still studying them as he entered the hall that Horus was currently in. Horus and his retinue of generals around, a table arguing amongst themselves in hushed tones, they were so engrossed in their topic that it took the honor guard accompanying Luthien clapping mail’d fists over their armored hearts to break their concentration.
Looking up Horus’ hawkish eyes found the bard. Turning back to the commanders of his armies, Horus first nodded to each in turn and then spoke to all of them, “Gentlemen, we will retire for the evening. Before more details are planned for the upcoming campaign I want to see your best cohorts in action against one another. Some war games for honor.” The three men dressed to their hilts in pressed uniforms drew their blades in unison and brought their blades up in salute. The blades returned to their hilts, the men departed and when the sounds of boastful, arrogant laughter over the next day’s events drifted off into quiet halls of the keep Horus spoke, “Luthien welcome to the little corner of this world I call my own. I hope the roads you traveled were safe.”
“Sir, I can not explain it but, there was a palpable sensation of safety when I crossed the borders into your lands.” Luthien spoke with a dramatic wave of his hand.
“Perhaps it was the great wall that divided and protects my little barony from the rest of the world.” Offered Horus with mirth in his voice.
“I believe Sir you are right, of course it might also be the well trained and professional cohorts you have stationed at the major road that leads into the heart of your barony that provided the feeling of safety.” Luthien ever the flattering bard returned.
“Ahh, so you noticed.”
“I believe Sir, that myself and every brigand from here to the edge of the world would notice.”
A smile fought valiantly at the corners of Horus’ mouth as he heard the bard. “It would seem that the Lords and Ladies of Aviron choose wisely when they sent you to record and document my history for posterity. Shall we begin?”
Removing the feathered hat from his head and bowing like a courtesan, “By your leave my lord!”
Horus motioned towards a chair opposite of his own; Luthien upon sitting began withdrawing writing instruments from a small bag. Horus watching Luthien remove items that could not possible fit in the bag spoke, “It seems bard that there is more to you than meets the eye. I was curious when reports reached my ears that you did not travel with any traveling gear.”
“Everyone has their preferred methods of travel; I like to be unhindered in my travels.” Luthein replied as he continued to pull items he would use to record the interview with.
“To each his own…..”
“M’lord whenever you are ready…..”
“Of course…… I’m not exactly sure where to begin.”
“Let us start from where you were born.”
“Well it was a tiny, almost nonexistent mountain village. Scrubfirth was its name in the Land of Opal Fire. The population at its height could not have been more than 600 souls.” Silence filled the room as Horus had finished and Luthien waited to make sure that Horus had finished, not wishing to interrupt the Duke.
“Anything anecdotal about the town?”
"They didn’t seem to like my family, we had some money, more than the average farmer. I don’t think it was the fact that my family had money that led the villagers to shun us it was probably more along the lines of old wives tales regarding magic, which my family used often enough times to protect the ungrateful villagers. My father always hated and despised the peasants as he called them and my mother always chided him and told him that it was Anwyn’s way to protect and care for those even if they did dislike you and it was our duty to do good for good’s sake, which made my father grumble even more about meddling women.”
Luthien stopped writing and looked up an eyebrow raised in question, “Anwyn??”
Horus holding up his hand to stop the bard from asking more questions as he explained; “Yes my family was devout in the worship of Anwyn, I myself pay homage to Naryne for obvious reasons. However, despite being devout worshippers of the hearth people still viewed my family as criminals in disguise. Which is still hard for me to understand, yes we had our fair share of black sheep, yes some of us were outspoken about the local government but what family doesn’t have that?”
“I dare say Sir, that I have traveled almost as much as you have and it is as you say, all families have the same stains on their record. Tell me something about your childhood friends”
“Scrubfirth was burnt to the ground by an invading army. It displaced a great many of us, my family ended up in
“I had though you were squired to a Knight?”
“That is true, I was. I met Sir DuLac as a child in Diamond Keep. I had been dared to pick the pocket of the knight commander, Sir DuLac and I remember approaching him when I thought his men weren’t looking and reaching into a bag, and grasping the hilt of a blade. I was so shocked to find the hilt of a blade in a coin pouch that I must have said something. Sir DuLac turned and caught me red handed.” Horus chuckled as he remembered that day. “I tell you something now he beat the tar out of me. Sir DuLac was old even then and still wailed on my little rear end as though the world were ending.”
“After beating the tar out of me, he marched me home, my parents were mortified of course when he told them, and then he requested, slash that, demanded that I be released into his care……. Both of them afraid of what I might become, allowed me to be taken by Sir DuLac. It was under his tutelage and care that I owe a lot of my success now to. He was a Knight Commander and in the many years of service as a squire I learned tactics and logistics for feeding and deploying armies.”
Nodding Luthien pressed on, “Your father was murdered?”
“Yes he was, my family has its fair share of people who dislike us, and I suspect that it was an agent for the Gilded Eye, it’s a merchant organization that had been pushed into decline by my family, that did it.”
“Your family sounds more like merchants than nobility….”
“They are, I was bequeathed my title. At the end of my apprenticeship to Sir DuLac I was released into the world. Being without a Lord I was a Black Knight traveling the country side. I spent sometime near a town called Middletown. It was around that time I received my Black Glove.” Horus holds up the glove for Luthien to see. “Eventually I found myself being hired by merchants who were moving military supplies to an army besieging this keep. We arrived here at the keep and I was given reign to travel about the land. Well it seems the Duke had slipped away from the keep in the middle of the night during which time he had been severely injured by some besiegers. I found him there wounded not far from his fallen horse and I gave him food and water. Honor demanded that I do that for a fellow knight.
Knowing he was near death, and recognizing me as DuLac’s squire which supposedly made me a worthy man he bequeathed me his title and entrusted me to defend his, now my, own lands from the brigands.”
“How did you go about doing that?”
“Sir DuLac serves a great Prince, and when I called for aide from DuLac his lord sent DuLac and an army to aid and support me. Well Luthien it is late, feel free to stay and enjoy your time here. We can continue this tomorrow.”