Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chapter 2: Bring out your dead

        Caden was walking away from the woodcutter, when he heard the dull clang of an iron bell. He looked down the street and saw everyone stopping their business. With each clang, more people froze and turned away from the street.

        Caden turned away. He didn't need to look when the wagon rolled behind him. He knew who they were, and why they had come. "That's why you should give up your dreams," said Sir Eric. Caden looked up. Sir Eric was walking to the Tavern, in complete disrespect to the dead Dragon Knights of Erdon village being escorted to the Temple. The stranger was following him, leaning on a crutch. He wore a brown poncho with a collar that stood up, covering half of his face. A wide brimmed hat sat on his fiery red hair. Caden had never seen red hair before.
        He turned back and lowered his head. He still wanted to join them, and that meant always respecting their traditions. He stood and waited. Listening to the repeating clang. Waiting for it to fade, and eventually stop when they reached the temple. He waited with everyone in town, except for Sir Eric and the stranger.

        As the market returned to normal, Caden ran through the streets to catch up with Sir Eric and the stranger. A hard object struck his ankle. He fell to the ground hard, his face sliding into the dirt. He looked up to see Damion, Harron's eldest. "What was that for?"
        "I need a sparing partner, I don't want to end up like those stiffs at the temple." Damion bounced a wooden sword on his shoulder. It was carved to look like the Dragon Knights' swords, five hands long, straight, single edge, and no handguard. "If I look good enough, maybe the knights will take me with them. And who to look better next to then a scrawny kid."
        "Not now Damion." Caden stood up. "I'm trying to figure out who the stranger is."
       "They're called the Dragon Knights. Maybe you've heard of them? Defenders of the kingdom, slayers of dragons?"
       "Not them." Caden ran off, leaving Damion to stare after him.

        Caden leaned in close to the chimney. He could hear Sir Eric's voice drifting up from his usual table next to the fireplace.
        "... you should tell your people your name is Rilyn. It won't sound as foreign to them," Sir Eric's voice drifted up the chimney.
        "Why are you helping me?" asked Rilyn.
       "I owe it to your family."
        "I don't have a family... not anymore.
       "Trust me, I know all about..."
       "Caden!" yelled his father. "Get down from there. The town is gathering in the square."
        Caden climbed off the roof. He knew one thing, the stranger and Sir Eric wouldn't be gathering.