The Order Knights
It was a quiet morning in Greenshade, a small village in the Verdanwell region. The town square was just starting it’s daily routine of bartering merchants and hardworking craftsmen. Hammers hitting on metal, the galloping of horses, the ambient chatter of the surrounding folks, everything pointed to an ordinary day. Until the sounds of chain mail and armored footsteps came from the main road. All eyes turned themselves to the two incoming individuals: order knights.
Dressed with their white tunics and bearing a red upside down hand print on their chest plates, they were instantly recognizable. The town’s people slowly stopped their activities and silently observed the two men as they made their way to the center of the marketplace.
One was well advanced in his age, with a few gray spots decorating his beard. A large scar went from the top of his shaved skull and all the way down to his left eye covered by an eye-patch.
The other one was much younger in his years, with dirty blond hair tied up at shoulder length and only some slight patches of growth covering his cheeks and chin.
- Oldren, old friend! Cried out a quickly approaching voice.
A short and chubby man clumsily made his way to greet the order representatives, the mayor of Greenshade. He already had pearls of sweat dripping down his forehead, clearly he wasn’t someone who went outside more than he needed to. He took out a rag from his brown vest’s pocket and started sponging his balding head as he greeted the two warriors:
- Greenshade is ever so honored the order has granted us the assistance of one of it’s most gifted.
The older of the new arrivals kindly smiled and bowed his head at the mayor as he replied:
- It is our honor to serve our purpose, Sir Hemington. May we conduct our business in privacy as to not alarm the crowds any further?
- But of course! I have made sure my private lounge is all set up for your comfort as we discuss the means of your summons. Right this way!
As the three men made their way to the tavern, the villagers slowly returned to their respective activities, bringing back Greenshade to its usual state of affairs.
Now sat in a discreet room at the back of the establishment, Hemington started pouring ale for his two guests. As he did so, the younger of the pair couldn’t help but ask:
- So, master Oldren has conducted business in Greenshade before?
The mayor answered as he passed the knights their drinks:
- Oh yes! Oldren grew up around these parts. He has taken care of many contracts in the area.
- A young Oldren, now that’s something I can’t quite picture... Chuckled the young man.
The master raised his hand to take back control of the conversation.
- stay focused brother Kirril, we are here to answer the call of duty. We will have time to dwell on the past another time.
He then took out a rolled up piece of parchment from a pouch attached to his belt and revealed it on the table. It was a map of the continent.
- Now we are all aware that Greenshade is the bordering town of the Oriel Region. Did he state as he pointed it’s location with his finger.
- If what has been shared in the report is true, then we have no time to waste.
- Yes, on to more pressing matters then. Confirmed Hemington.
Kirril nodded to his master, letting him go on.
- Now, the bodies reported were all found in the forest to the north, here, here and here. Noted Oldren as he designated the various locations.
- Yes and, from what was brought back to me, this is no small monster either. We are still trying to identify the last one from our listing of missing people. Added Hemington.
- At first glance it would seem the beast has made it’s refuge in these woods. Pointed out Kirril.
- Indeed. But, if you follow the trail of bodies, you can notice each one was found slightly more to the south-west. It’s getting closer to the capital. Explained the old knight.
- For what purpose? Asked the mayor with a slight shake in his throat.
- Higher concentration of population is the current guess. Answered the younger of the two warriors.
- Now, is there anyone who can guide us to the last kill sighting? Demanded Oldren. We must make haste. The border cannot be allowed to be compromised any further.
- There is a boy, seventeen years old maybe, Edan. He used to live with his mother in a small hut in the woods. She died four years ago and he resides there on his own now...
- You would let a child to fend for himself in the forest? Said Kirril as he slightly raised his tone.
- The boy doesn’t accommodate well to the village. Even if we tried, he always goes back there. Explained Hemington. Trust me, he is no ordinary boy. I’ve asked my assistant to fetch him, they should arrive shortly.
Just as he had finished his sentence, a knock on the door made itself heard. As it opened, a giant of a man entered the room.
- Ah, Edgar! Exclaimed the mayor. Have you found Edan?
- He’s on his way. I couldn’t find him at the hut, it seems he was out hunting. Steven’s said he crossed him on the road with his latest catch, he should get to the marketplace any minute now.
Both men of the order stood up, finished their ale and shook the mayor’s hand firmly.
- We will go greet the boy and begin our investigation my friend. Assured Oldren. Do not worry, this situation will be dealt with swiftly.
- All my faith is entrusted in you master Oldren. Be careful. Thanked Hemington. Edgar will accompany you to help with identifying Edan.
- Right this way sirs... Said Edgar as he invited the knights to follow him.