Keita curled her hand about her mug of ale and looked at the two men sitting across from her. The two men appeared to be polar opposites of each other, the one young and fair and the other old and rugged, but that didn’t stop the easy camaraderie between them. “So it’s a story you want then,” She began. “I suppose I can oblige.”
“You see, I am a member of the Ora tribe. My parents were amongst the Chosen whom wander about the Irati plains.” Lucien started slightly, though Turgis simply looked confused. Noticing the older man’s confusion, he explained.
“They’re barbarian tribes, Turgis. They roam about the plains in packs, killing off anyone they come across. The Crown’s Guard has been trying to stop them for years so we could settle the lands.” Keita glared daggers from steely grey eyes at the young prince. Turgis scoffed, interrupting Lucien’s rant before he gained steam.
“I think you’ve offended the lady. Please, continue with your story Keita.”
“As I was saying,” Keita began, still glaring at Lucien, “My parents were among the Chosen whom wander the plains, as our people have done for generations upon generations, defending our lands from those whom mean to take it.” Lucien muttered something under his breath about travellers and merchants, but Turgis fixed him with a glare of his own and he opted for a stubborn pout as Keita continued her story.
“Among the Chosen there is a tradition that when a child has come of age, they must set out on their own journey towards our sacred site. There, they will meet with the Elders of the Ora, and their destiny will be decided. Most do not return to their parent’s tribes after their journey.”
“Two months ago, I set out on my own journey to the sacred site. Our tribe was far from the site when I began, but the path is simple. The sacred site is at the head of the Medina river, which begins in the woods beyond the plains, but forks and flows throughout the plains. But when I arrived, there were no elders to greet me. Instead, there was a town wall and Avesta guards.” Keita focused her gaze on Lucien. “When I requested entry through the gates to visit the sacred site, the guards instead chose to open fire.” Lucien began to turn a brilliant shade of red.
“I brought down one man with my throwing knife, he was clearly not expecting me to fight back…” She smiled wickedly as her fingers traced a small blonde braid woven into her hair, “But then they opened the doors, and ten more men charged out at me. I…” She paused, biting her lip, “A stranger came running out of the gates behind them. He was armed with a bow and not dressed like a guard. With his help, I killed the rest, but he urged me to come with him to a small hut outside the gates.”
“As we walked, he explained that the town had been formed recently, under the order of the King. When the first of the Ora came asking permission to see the sacred site, they had let him in, but upon arriving at the river head, the man had flown into a fury, killing many villagers before he was killed himself. Since then, they had erected a fence, and turned away any Ora who came.”
“The stranger believed that the villagers had unknowingly destroyed what was once the sacred site but said that many others had died trying to turn away the journeying Oras. When he met the Elders while hunting, he had warned them not to go to the town. Instead, the Elders had scattered, each leaving in a different direction to seek an answer from the sacred sites of their ancestors. The oldest, Elder Rosenth, remained behind, hidden in the man’s hut. Alone, she was only able to give me part of my destiny. To reclaim our sacred grounds.”
Turgis turned to Lucien, cutting off the young man just as he opened his mouth. “Lucien, I believe I’ve won this bet, go buy the next round of drinks.” Lucien spluttered, his face having grown steadily redder and angrier for several minutes.
“What? No, Turgi-”
“Go.” Turgis forcefully pushed him out of the booth until both men were standing. “Before you do something stupid.” He said quietly. Lucien glared at the older man and whispered fiercely,
“You heard her, she killed several of my men. Those are good people in Avendale, and some traitor in the village helped!”
“She ran.” Turgis said firmly. “Now go get the drinks before you do something stupid like start a fight in neutral territory.” Lucien glowered at him before turning and pushing his way towards the bar. Keita smiled smugly at his back as Turgis sat back down.
“Now my dear, that is an interesting tale, but what brings you so far out this way? Cetrius is neutral grounds, the druids won’t take kindly to you building an army in this town.” Keita’s smile faded for slightly embarassed one.
“Ah well, it was only part of the destiny. Rosenth insisted I find the other six Elders to hear the rest of the destiny before taking action. One of them was headed this way.” Turgis smiled.
“You really have no idea how you’re going to take on a whole town, do you?” He asked. Keita blushed, making the scars along her cheek stand out sharply, and opened her mouth to say something angrily, when three mugs of beers plunked down on the table. Turgis grabbed one. “Welcome back, Lucien! I retract my question, Keita. Perhaps now would be a good time to move to lighter topics.” He smiled warmly at the two younger people’s perplexed looks.