The Provinces of Veterumterrum

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Chapter 26

Baron Miraven

Vylasgarden

Kruzco and Vylasgarden approached the nearest castle in the Feudal Lands. It was small and modest for noble standards. Its property was enclosed by a stone wall that had short iron pines atop it to discourage intruders from vaulting it. They went up to the gate and Vylasgarden knocked on the wooden doors. The gate was answered by a ljosalfr man dressed in light armor. “Be gone, the baron is not seeing anyone this morning,” the elf said.

“Pardon us my lord, we have come bearing news the baron should know,” Vylasgarden urged.

“Is that so? You look to be a pair of beggars to me. Off with you before I shoot you with mine own crossbow,” the elf replied casually as he began closing the gate.

Vylasgarden blocked the door with her foot. “I am afraid I will have to insist.”

“Are you insane creature!?” the elf objected and raised his crossbow but Vylasgarden knocked it from his hands and shoved him to the ground. The elf reached for his elven blade but Vylasgarden stepped on his wrist and applied a great deal of pressure on it. “Ah! You will regret this sarkany wench!”

“No, but I will regret this,” Vylasgarden said before punching the elf in the face knocking him unconcious.

Kruzco watched surprisingly, “Not think you had to do that. You have Azariah earring.”

“There isn’t enough time to be patient with the likes of him,” Vylasgarden said picking the elf up and throwing him over her shoulder. “Let’s hurry and meet this baron,” she said continuing through the yard.

Baron Vartan Miraven

The baron sat at the head of his dining table with his ljosalfar family. The baroness and their son had copper hair whereas the Baron and their daughter had fiery orange hair. All of them were fair skinned and had slender bodies except for the baron himself whom had a fleshy build for an elf. The family was served a whole turkey, and a banquet of fruit and wine for a late brunch. “What a quaint meal this is,” the baroness said once the final plate was served.

“Yes, madam,” a human servant agreed. “The meal was prepared with a little more flair than usual.”

“Forsooth mother,” the son replied. “I am so filled with pangs of hunger. I could consume a whole horse,” the baron laughed heartedly. His son was always amusing during family gatherings.

“Is that so boy? Perhaps I shalt have the servants slaughter one for you then,” the baron joked.

Suddenly the son’s demeanor turned timid, “I was only joking father,” the son said taking a bite of turkey. Another human servant came into the dining hall in what looked like a hurry.

“My lord, a sarkany woman and a human man is at the door. They insist that your presence is very much needed,” the servant announced.

“Turn those folk away and fire the gatekeeper,” the baron said taking a sip of wine from his goblet.

The servant stuttered and said, “My lord, I do not think…”

“Do you want to be fired as well? Do it man! And bid the sarkany it is lucky I don’t have my knights slay it and sell its parts to the black market,” the baron said amused with himself and a turkey leg in his fist. The servant turned to leave but the sound of a door being axed and crumbled filled the hall followed by the sound of men in a scuffle.

“I believe that to be them, my lord,” the servant said in a concerning tone.

“Cometh everyone. Get behind me,” the baron commanded pulling a mounted long sword from over the fireplace. His son pulled a slingshot from his pants, loaded it with a peach seed, and took aim at the dining room entrance. “what are you going to do with that? Pelt them to death?” They all waited for something to happen but there was only silence. “What do you want!?” the baron called out.

“To talk my lord,” a deep but feminine voiced called back from the other side of the dining hall archway.

“We are past talking! You invaded my home and attacked mine own men,” the baron said.

“They gave us no choice my lord. What we need to discuss is too urgent,” the feminine voice replied.

“Fine then. Come out and show yourself,” the baron called out to the voice.

“How do we know you won’t shoot at us?” the feminine voice replied.

“None of us are armed with ranged weapons,” the baron called out and his son scoffed and gave his father a quizzical look. “Oh! what are you going to do with that thing? You can hardly harm your sister with it,” the baron said to his son.

“Okay,” the feminine voice called out. “We’re coming out.”

From the archway, a wild human in a full head of hair and beard was armed with a battleax and next to him was a two-meter-tall dragon woman. A true sarkany standing in the baron’s home pointing a notched arrow to his head. They came within nine meters of his family and servant and then stopped.

“What do you want?” the baroness asked.

“We came to tell you that Flos Sergens is in danger,” the sarkany woman said to them. Her scaly skin was scared with what looked like lightning burns.

“I would say so indeed,” the servant said holding a hand to his chest.

“No. Not by us,” the sarkany woman insisted.

“By whom then,” the baron argued.

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me,” she said plainly. It was perhaps the most sense she had made thus far. Suddenly the hairy man was shot in the arm with the peach seed the son had notched in his slingshot.

“Ouch!” the hairy man cried and the boy stuck his tongue out at him. The man twisted his face in irritation and stuck his tongue back at the child.

“Why should I trust what you say?” the baron asked skeptically.

“Because I have this,” the sarkany woman said lowering her bow and reaching in her robe. The baron thought to strike at that moment but noticed the wild man watching him closely. There was no way the baron could take them both on alone, and if they had taken out his guards then he alone certainly stood no chance. The sarkany woman took out a piece of gold from her robe. At first glance it looked like a nugget with holes in it but a more delicate look revealed it to be an elf-sized ear cuff.

“My love, that belongs to the princess,” the baroness stated.

“What have you done with her?” the baron accused.

“We have done nothing to her. She has gone to the city to warn them of the invasion. She trusted us to warn you and the other barons,” the sarkany woman stated. The baron read her eyes for deceit. Her eyes were pleading for belief, he knew this. The baron had lived long enough to recognize a true liar. He lowered his sword and fixed his posture.

“What do you require of us?” he said with reasonable respect.

The baroness objected and took her husband by the arm “Vartan you cannot possibly trust these⏤”

“Know your place wife,” the baron warned. “Come let us discuss in privacy,” he said gesturing for the guests to follow him out of the dining hall. He led them to a separate room on the same floor of the castle that was blocked off by a cluster of needless objects. In the hall, multiple guards collected themselves from the floor rubbing heads and groaning from bruising pain. “You very much did a number on them.”

“A necessary action my lord,” Vylasgarden insisted.

“Your friend. Does he speak?” the baron asked opening the door to the room.

“Kruzco talk now?” the wild man asked.

“Yes,” the sarkany woman said to him. “Common is not his best speaking tongue. We figured it was best I did all the talking.”

“Perhaps was a valiant idea on his part,” the baron replied welcoming them into the seemingly empty room. The baron went over and unveiled the tall curtains blocking the windows. Agitated dust particles filled the air as bright sunlight filled the room. On either side of the room was a simple bookshelf and at its center in front of the baron was a table with several sheets of parchment lying on it. The Baron unrolling a large piece of parchment on the table. The parchment looked like a map of Flos Sergens. The baron looked at Vylasgarden and Kruzco with intrigue. “Bid me everything I need to know.”

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