- Gonath found himself repulsed by the woman yet could not bring himself to turn away.
“How do you know my name? And who are you to know of my untimely demise? If there is such truth to what you speak."
“It seems I have your attention, yet your questions are foolish ones. Your father was not so different."
“How? What do you...”
“No questions here. This is not the place. There are many who still seek the truth. Come, let us return to your home. We will dampen your curiosity as we go.”
“Old woman, I know not what knowledge you possess or pretend to possess. I know not of who you are, and I know not of where you come. I have not the time nor the patience to play out your riddles or your insults."
“Nor can you ignore what I have to tell you, young Gonath! Let us go now before it is dark. Thieves will be rampant tonight as your mother once discovered.”
Struck by what the old woman seemed to know and weary of arguing in the street, Gonath resigned to bring the woman home. He wanted to learn more of what she knew of his parents and compare it to the monk's vague version.
Gonath lifted the woman and placed her atop the horse she approached. As he did, the woman dropped what looked to be a coin. He bent to retrieve the gold piece and was struck in the face with the heel of the old woman. He spit the dirt from his mouth and listened to the worn cackle and the trailing words, “You foolish, foolish boy!” as the woman rode off. Gonath shook the insults from his mind to make room for the anger and embarrassment of being made the fool. Bested by an old hag. Now I know I have no place in the Army, he thought.
"My lady, your heart is hardened unjustly, I feel you hold contempt for me yet I have done nothing to promote that cause. I surely thought these years of service to the King would disclose my true nature?"
"The question Demorus, is at what point will you cease hiding it?"
The coach left the confines of the castle wall. The echoing hooves on the cobblestone announced the group's departure. Once outside, Demorus glanced back through the carriage window. For a brief moment, he saw himself taking over and replacing the King’s command. From the opposite seat, Kea’na eyed Demorus with due suspicion. Though her uncle often spoke highly of Demorus, she could summon no trust, nor liking for him from within herself.
The voice of the old woman carried a chill through the air. It reached Gonath and seized him and made it difficult to turn away from the source of such a noise. The initial shock subsided and Gonath found himself staring down at nothing more than a heap of black rags in the road.
He stood trying to determine whether the voice he heard was real, or a product of all the ale he had consumed. He turned around and noticed uneasiness in the horses tied down in front of him.
He turned again to see that the black cloak was still there. This time it began to move. Gonath wished for the second time today that his dagger was with him. The movement from the cloak revealed two withered hands that reached for the hood, which when withdrawn, exposed a face that could only belong to the voice Gonath heard moments ago.
“You are a fool are you not? There is no need for your dagger, at least not yet," came the same voice, “You have much to know and little time to learn your fate, young Gonath."
My original plan was to post every other Sunday but I didn't feel that was frequent enough so I decides to post once a week. Once a week, right? Holy crap, time just keeps getting away from me. Don't despair, I'll be posting the next installment of the story soon.
This is where something will go.