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The Books of Renly.

By Andrew James Clayton-Bunday All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter 13: A way Clear

Tajaar’s mood was not pretty by the time he found himself back at the gates of the keep, he could sense his anger building at the possibility of being removed from this chance of a new life by the harsh deals of greedy men seemed to be about all he could take. The guards of the keep thought twice about stopping them, maybe it was the anger visible on his face or the one legged man dripping blood from the hound’s mouth that made them back off, the doors to council where open on approach no questions asked. The lords, commanders and generals fell to a murmuring hush at the sight of the four them now in the center of the horseshoe shaped room. Tajaar and his squire dismounted with Tajaar landing on his feet and his squire face planting the floor, shaking his head Tajaar reaches for the note held within his shirt and approaches lord Hatch laying out the events of the pit fight and the Nomeys plot to fix them to gain power and coin. Laying the note before him offering the word of Fragar and the maester as backing to the claims, quickly challenged by those loyal to the Nomeys often in secret debt to them or their family lines. “SILENCE, this is my court,” Lord Hatch had, had enough of the conjecture being tossed around the chambers examining the note calling for the sigil master to verify the seal on the parchment. Picking up his hammer making his way to the keeper now in a heap on the floor trying to crawl away from lord Hatch which told him all he needed to know, Sola had placed her paw on his remaining leg to stop his escape, calling for his lord’s forgiveness only to be silenced when the hammer was driven clean into the man chest ending the wailing of merci calls. “Get the maggot out of my sight” he called. Sola was only happy to oblige, scooping him off the ground and retiring to a meal long called for, Tajaar shrugging his shoulders as lord Hatch raised an eyebrow at the hound as she waddles off happily with her snack dangling from her salivating grip.

“It seems I have judged you too quickly although in this house it has been made clear today subterfuge is rife in the men appointed here and the same fate will meet those who are found to be part of this and any other acts of dishonor,” Lord Hatch declared to the counsel waving them out of the room before the sigil keeper could even verify the sigil on the parchment. This seems to be the time for you to decide if you want to take on my daughter and the responsibilities of a house, not many men have the core of a warrior and the underlying strength of wisdom to lay down even his loyal subjects for the sake of order, I myself have laid two of my sons to rest my own blood lies upon this floor, turning my heart cold at the visions of their deaths each time I think of them. You seem to be a wise man and your ability as a warrior is already known by many men and across many cities by now, I am sure many ravens were dispatched with the news of your victory in the pits. Not a word need be uttered about the where and the why you’re here from this day forward only that the answer to the calls of the Hatch Banners when needed and swear your life upon the keeping of my daughter.” Lord Hatch seemed to stop for a brief moment before taking a small dagger form his belt slicing his hand to draw blood and offering the blade and arm to Tajaar, “you shall have my allegiance and I shall keep the honour of your daughter as I keep my own blood,” taking the blade and cutting his own hand they lock arms sliding down them till their hands and blood mixed bowing his head Tajaar had found himself a home and place again.

Leaving Tajaar in the hands of his guards and trusted keepers to gain his rights of lords Hatch retired from counsel probably in search of a wet whore and the company of ale and mead, the wave of people that descended into the room taking measurements and asking a thousand questions of him as he stood in awe of the swarm made him feel good almost euphoric he had felt no such attention that he could recall. The situation played out with a grace of a dance as they left in the grace they had appeared, the sigil master perched next to the council table parchment in hand “we have to create your house a sigil this will become a symbol for the dishonorable to fear and the people to revere, it should display your power and honor,” Tajaar stops him mid point “my power if it is to be called that comes from Sola my honor is a matter of my humanity being one of a man searching for a truth amongst an apparent field of lies and war, my house should represent that in abundance no matter my future that is what I am set out to do. See to it that Sola is the face of my sigil and the words, Love, Honor and justice in the tongue of the Wizards surround her.”

“A commendable design sire I shall see to the design and have the keeps smiths make your seal before this night is through ready for the wedding come the light of the morn.” nodding his head Tajaar approves of the sigil master’s words. “I must take my leave of these matters and I leave my squire here to answer any questions or seek me if I am needed, I have pressing matters to attend to.”

Heading out the door Tajaar’s mind recalled the meeting earlier that day in the great library finding his mind churning the event realising he was still caught up in the maesters words he knew he had to try and find out more of his past, he knew how he felt now about being a lord but could he stand for these things despite of a past he knows nothing about, and he had to leave for any answers that could be offered as to who he actually was. Barely a foot had past the doorway when he was halted again by a commander asking if he would be attending the Generals hunt after his wedding before riding to his new home, “ like many things across this city I have yet to learn this hunt is one of them, what is it for or about, should I be seen in attendance in loo of attending to the matters of my new home?” Tajaar replied becoming now frustrated with the attention and the building questions and almost no answers and still yet more questions piled and thrust upon him, at a time where he needs to ask a few questions and get his own answers. The almost amusement in the commander’s eyes that the lord did not know about the hunts made Tajaar’s anger boil more and more, the commander’s caught the blank stare of rage seizing his laughter he explained it was a hunt in honor of past heroes to capture creatures for the pits and large food sources for the people of the city, with the largest kills or captures gaining more prestige prizes of coin and respect of the generals alliances are forged in these hunts a new lord would think better if he was to consider not attending with them.”

“I have matters to attend with before I am to make such a decision although I will attend given my ability to do so, I will send word to your house if my attendance is permitted before my wedding,” before the commander had chance to respond or another question could be set loose Tajaar storms off down the corridors of the keep out the gate towards the library, Sola pushing past the commander in a slow walk after him she knew where he was headed and the fact she was not allowed inside.

The doors of the library in sight Tajaar began to feel a relief as he knew while here he would be the one to get answers to his questions from one who seems at least willing to try and answer them, the closer he got to the doors he began to see the figure of someone sat before them, in front of them a small fire lit them from the shining light around their back as they faced the door chanting words similar to the tongue of the maester. Drawing his sword he crouched to approach the figure to try and work out what they were doing, the closer he got the more he could see the markings placed around them on the floor the words carved into the doors of the library glowed letters shining and lifting from the doors moving through the air as if attracted to the symbols on the floor they joined with them making them glow as well, brighter and more intense as more letters flew from the door and joined them. This is not right he thought to himself what exactly is this person doing? Taking a deep breath no time like the present he thought as he stood up from the shadows calling to the figure to desist and step away from the library, they continued their chant as if not hearing his call. Sola flanking the figure to pounce from the far side was now lying in wait for the attack to begin the glint of her eyes visible as the firelight flickered in the darkening skies. Calling to figure once more to stop what they were doing adding a threat of attack if they did not heed his call, it still did not deter them from their chanting, he began a charge of attack if this person was trying to destroy the only place he was getting some answers from he could not idly stand by. Sola had joined the attack both racing towards the figure as it sat motionless, the moment of contact upon their prey at hand, they heard but a single word spoken and the two met the outer symbols with a surge of pure blue energy leaving the ground gripping the two of them stopping them mid air as if they had become statues of themselves frozen in time. The figure which until now had shown no sign of moving began a sinister giggle building into an all-out ball of laughter, “ and I had heard the fighter and his hound were a force to be reckoned with judging by what I see here these two are a farce,” the figure rose from its position revealing a mask of pure ivory decorated with gold bangs and horns, a heart shaped crest on the center of the forehead, the mask moved with her words as if it had life of its own, the seductive clothes of a women of the night and the voice that seemed to draw you closer despite being held within her grasp.

“Do you know of me fighter?” she asked Tajaar as she slowly paced around him looking at him as though she was sizing up what best way to dispose of her would be attacker. Tajaar unable to answer screaming in his mind to be freed from her grasp, she laughed as if she could hear the calls of his mind, coming back into view at his side she reached into a pouch attached to her belt pulling out a dark powder placing a small amount of it in her other hand her eyes never leaving him. Opening her hand flat the power sat in her palm she drew a large breath pouted a kiss towards him turning at the last minute she blew the powder into Sola’s face the energy dissipated as the powder engulfed her face falling to the floor she began to snore in a deep sleep.

“Now we are alone we can truly see what you’re made of pretty boy,” she reaches through the energy to grip Tajaar who begins to feel his skin burn the closer she got to him closing her eyes about to kiss his head Tajaar can almost sense the sinister intentions behind this sultress gesture. His vision blocked for a flash he felt his armor was in place, the energy weakening he brought down his sword which had been frozen above his head ready to strike, contacting her mask on its crest it sent out a blast wave of energy canceling his blow not before knocking her to the ground. Extending her arm to one side she calls out an enchant summing a stave to her hand narrowly defeating another blow from Tajaar who was not waiting for her to gain another hand on this meeting. Both of them faced off stave and sword meeting sending blast waves in all directions erupting chunks of ground high into the air as energy and it met. As their anger grew as did the pulses of energy, the grounds of the library scorched with the battle, the doors and symbol on the ground now glowing so bright like the sun, the would be ring was lit as if it was day, energy pulses reached out like the lighting of the clouds striking any and all surfaces setting even the stone a blaze. The two of them charge to strike one another only feet in front of the doors only to be intercepted by the discharging energy from the symbol and the door meeting them lifting them into the air the energy leapt in massive waves surrounding them both dropping them seconds later calming to pulses of cracking waves. The two of them were shaken but by no means finished with this battle picking up their dropped weapons they leapt from the spot with almost the speed of the energy they met bodies still cracking and pulsing with energy released as all at once as they connected the dispersed wave so bright neither could look at it. The surrounding building of the library’s ground absorbing most of the blast wave cracked under the strength of it igniting the rooftops debris flying far off into the city.

Surges of pain could be seen as both fighters stood now locked at the eyes panting both not wanting to advance on the other Tajaar asks “what are you doing here witch?” still panting she shakes her head laughing once more “as if you have the right to ask of me why I am here fighter of the moors, you win one battle and think you are a lord I bet?”

“What do you mean fighter of the moors? For that matter why do you deflect and ignore my question, what exactly do you plan to steal from this place, this magic held here is not for the likes of witches?” the air growing thicker the crowds gathering at the outer limits of the library grounds watching pointing as the event unfolds. “ great another fighter who doesn’t know his place just what this realm needs, I should just kill you now and be done with this,” she slams the stave to the ground twisting it into the soil releasing it, standing on its own she called out another enchantment touching her hand back to the stave it shone and shock before the base broke out into roots that seemed to look round before plunging themselves into the ground, tearing through the soil heading for Tajaar who slammed his sword into the ground impaling them as they approached with each one he killed it sprouted two more roots from the stave now growing upwards as if it were a tree. Jumping back and dodging the growing numbers he cut down each as they broke ground to reach him, his eyes became fixed on the stave in the ground he knew he had to some how stop it by breaking it.

Scooping a broken piece of root from the air he bats it with his sword striking Sola who jumps back to her feet dazed she shakes off and sniffs the ground turning to the witch and her stave as she followed the scent of the roots back to their origin, growling and snarling she takes off for the witch with Tajaar quickly in toe trying to mount Sola to escape the approaching roots. The roots now trying to grab Sola were snapped and torn from the ground as they grabbed at her legs her approach barely slowed, Tajaar knowing he was not far off contact leapt from her back hacking his sword into the stave in the ground shattering it upon contact the witch took off to avoid Sola as she gained ground on her. The witch turned to her letting out a bolt of energy tripping her while disappearing from the light and sight. Running to Sola’s side Tajaar searches the horizon looking for a sign of her, with nothing to be seen. Turning to Sola he could see a note at her feet bending snatching the note from the spikes of her paw it read, that was fun but this is far from over fighter if we meet in battle again I know not to underestimate you and your hound, scrunching the note in one hand looking to the floor he could see blood on the floor leading off into the darkness. “Can you follow that Sola?” she agrees sniffing the floor disappearing off into the darkness as Tajaar returns to the library doors and inspects the damage of the surrounding buildings gulping at what he sees. The symbols on the floor had all but calmed down leaving an indentation of it into the stone carved and worn like it was always there as he stood studying them wondering what she was trying to do. He felt a hand grasp his shoulder and a voice telling him to calm himself and come inside, turning to see the face of maester he began to relax and his armour began to fall away breathing deeply he followed the guiding hand of the maester inside.

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