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Tales of Midgard - Part 8

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  • Tales of Midgard - Part 8

    22.

    Kidnapped

    The road was long but the coach was comfortable, with a soft leather interior, well sprung wheels, and a team of six strong horses to pull it. The children, Park and his sister Roline, had laughed and played together throughout the day’s journey, while their smiling parents watched them fondly. Now they slept, leaning against each other under a thick woollen blanket as the coach rocked gently on its springs.

    Park woke first, jolted out of his dream by the braying of the horses. His parents were not in the coach, and the door swung open on its hinges. As he climbed down from the carriage, his younger sister stirred and opened her eyes.

    “Park?” said the girl, sweeping a fringe of silver hair out of her eyes, “Where are Mother and Father?”

    “Shh!” said Park, touching a finger to his lips. He stepped down to the road and went to check on the frightened horses.

    There was no sign of the children’s parents, save for a scrap of silk from their mother’s red dress, caught on the thorns of the roadside briars, and one gold button from their father’s topcoat. The coach driver was there, though, his head lolling back, throat sliced open, eyes staring blankly at the moon...

    “Where are we going?” asked Roline as her brother dragged her away from the coach and down the road.

    “To find Mum and Dad,” said Park, gravely, “Don’t look back.”

  • #2
    23.

    A Face in the Crowd

    Isolde was proud of her victory but she wished more than anything that her father, Belloc, could have been there to see it. At fourteen, she was the youngest person ever to win Lambley’s annual archery tournament. A combination of months of relentless training and raw, natural talent had seen her trounce the best efforts of every challenger.

    And yet, without her father to share in her pride, the win felt hollow. She knew that his work was important. He had been called to Luxis and appointed Guardian, a title of great honor. She knew that he could not abandon his post - not for a silly archery tournament - but she couldn’t help feeling personally wronged by his absence. ‘Wasn’t his first loyalty to her?’ Isolde wondered, ‘To his family?’

    In the crowd, a tall man in a grey, hooded cloak smiled to himself. He watched as the judges called Isolde to their side and presented her with the tournament trophy, an arrow tipped with a point of pure gold. Then he slipped through the crowd and into the woods beyond. He muttered a secret spell and a portal opened, hanging in the air like a tear in the forest, and revealing the marble towers of Luxis a thousand miles away.

    Isolde had done him proud, thought Belloc the Guardian, stepping into the portal. Angelis willing, he would see his daughter again soon.

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    • #3
      24.

      Casting the Rings

      The rings worn by the Chosen are more than a badge of office. They are a sacred channel through which the spirit of Midgard’s legendary saviour flows.

      You may, in the course of your travels, find yourself in a wayside inn, listening to the tales of journeymen and drunkards. Many will tell you that they have met the Chosen and seen their rings of power. They will speak of ornate gold bands and fine jewels set in delicate mountings… But they are liars.

      Gelderrin’s Rings are no gaudy ornaments, though they are forged from fine Midgardian gold. The mountings are simple and support only one ‘jewel’; a sliver of the shattered stone that once sat in the hilt of a hero’s sword. A sword broken in the breast of the Dark Lord when he was last banished from these lands.

      Be wary of the traveller who speaks of filigreed finery. Those who have truly seen the ring of the Chosen know that its true worth is hidden.

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