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Archives: The Golden Egg

Chapter 11: Arrival in Dragon Scale

    The ride took little less than half a day, so they arrived at the crest of the road but a mile away from the gates of Dragon Scale. Aiden and Talen had lead the way, though for a time, Aiden had been speaking with Saga to explain the mission Mycen had given. Saga was eager to adventure with his brother, especially for such a noble cause.

    Aiden halted Tiash at the top of the slope overlooking the port city of Moss. While most of the nation was high in the mountains, Dragon Scale was near sea level on a river that ran to the ocean. The entire city was laid out before them in quite an impressive view.

    The elf turned around to look back at his companions. Rylan had earlier voiced concerns about entering the city, and Aiden worried for the centaur’s comfort and safety. “Rylan, if you don’t want to enter the city, I won’t hold it against you. You can wait for us at the north gate,” Aiden offered.

    Kima looked at the city with wary eyes, she didn’t want to go into a city. She shied away from Aiden and crawled off the back of his horse. The young wildling scampered away from the party and crawled up a tree to wait.

    Rylan thought about it for a second, but it was for the best that he let them go on ahead. “I’ll be waiting by the north gate then. Perhaps while I wait I’ll do some scouting of the road,” the centaur said. He saw Kima head off and then looked back to the others. Maybe he could scout the north road for anything relating to their search.

    Talen watched as Rylan and Aiden exchanged words. Considering they were at Dragon Scale, it would be best for him to lead from here. He lead his horse a little further ahead of the group, stopping a small distance ahead before turning around. “Well, is everyone ready to go?” he asked.

    Naclia rode up alongside Talen. “I’m ready,” she said. “Eli, you can ride with me into the city if you like,” she suggested to the shamaness, who had ridden on Rylan this morning.

    Aiden nodded to Rylan, then glanced at Lyassa and Saga who had been silent so far. Of course they would be coming. Kima had scampered off, and it was obvious that she didn’t want to go. Aiden hoped she would know how to find them again, but he also considered that she might wander off and they would never see her again. Well, at least Eliamn would be happy, he though sardonically.

    “Let’s go,” he said. Turning his horse toward Talen, he let the knight lead on.

    Kima kept in her tree. She could have gone into the city with Aiden and the others, but her fear of other humans kept her from going into the repugnant place. The young wildling scratched aimlessly behind her right ear with her foot. Hollow calunk-calunk walks the beast men with pointed ears, she thought to herself admiring how Aiden and the others could command the horses easily.

    Eliamn slid off Rylan’s back with all the elegance and grace one expected from an elf. At least there will be one less human pet tagging along. She gave a quaint smile and raised her hand up to Naclia to help her up onto the horse. {“I assume that we’re not completely leaving that child here?”} She asked Aiden in elven. Naclia frowned a little at Eli’s question, but she didn’t say anything and just helped Eliamn up.

    Aiden tossed a glare over his shoulder at Eli. {“It’s her choice. I will not abandon her, but if she wants to go her own way, I’ll let her. She should meet us at the north gate, if she follows Rylan,”} he replied.

    Talen rode onward now that everyone who wanted to come had joined his group. Aiden gave Tiash a slight urging and sent the horse forward to flank Talen’s warhorse.

    Talen nodded at Aiden’s motion for them, and he figured everyone was finally set to go, even though Kima had left to scurry back up her tree again, but perhaps that was the best for her. He turned back and motioned for them to get moving as he started towards the gates. Talen began heading for the gates, hoping that everyone was ready behind him.

    As the group drew closer to the gates of Dragon Scale two guards approached them and stopped the group. “Excuse me, but by order of the Duke, you people are forbidden from entering Dragon Scale, upon penalty of arrest,” one of the guards exclaimed. “I don’t know what you did, but I suggest that you turn around.”

    Naclia was upset by the injustice, and as usual, she was the one to stand up against it first. “Hey! What do you mean ‘you people’? We have important business with your duke, and we’re on a mission from Mycen herself! Talen, do something! You’re a knight of Moss, they can’t treat you like this!”

    Talen was shocked to be stopped at the gate of his home city. Even if there were some sort of travel restrictions, a knight would be allowed to enter. “I am Sir Talen Drecloud of the Order of the Wyvern, and a son of Dragon Scale. I must speak with the duke, it is an important mission assigned to me by the highest power of Moss, the Dragon Queen Mycen. Now, stand aside men,” Talen ordered, pulling rank over the mere city guards.

    The guards looked amongst each other then back to the group. “I was afraid that it would come to this...” the guard muttered. “We were told that you would say something to that effect. I’m afraid that I’d have to ask for proof of what you say before I could allow any of you into the city.”

    Naclia scoffed in indignation, then looked back at Aiden. “Damn, Kima still has the feather, doesn’t she?” she asked, almost sure that the girl had taken it with her.

    “Yes,” Aiden replied sharply as he stared down the guards from horseback. “What could possibly disallow us from entering?” he inquired to the guards.

    Lyassa looked on, confused and sensing the tension in the group. Why weren’t they allowed in with a knight and herself as company? If Talen could produce no evidence, perhaps she could. They could trust a priestess of Marfa, couldn’t they?

    “Your group matches the description that we’ve been given regarding a plot to overthrow our governing lord,” the lead guardsman spoke.

    Eliamn scoffed internally. So typical, she internalized. “So if we can ‘prove’ that we are sent by Mycen, then you’ll let us in?”

    “That’s the long and short of it,” the guard stated bluntly. “No offense meant, but all precautions have to be taken to ensure the peace is kept.”

    Talen raised a brow at what the lead guardsman had spoke. “So you would believe a knight to attempt to overthrow a lord? Are you foolish?!” he said, obvious anger taking over him at the fact that no matter what he said, he couldn’t persuade them otherwise.

    “It wouldn’t be the first time a thief stole the armor of a knight and pretended to be that knight. It’s more common then you think,” the guard pointed out. “And as far as the lord is concerned, the information of a knight coming to overthrow him whilst in the company of elves, is not so far fetched, due to the source of his information.”

    “That’s ridiculous! We don’t care enough about human politics to be involved with overthrowing some ruler of yours,” Naclia protested.

    Lyassa dismounted her horse and walked up to the guards from the back of the group. “Please, we mean no harm. I am a priestess of Marfa, and to be involved with some sinister plot against a peaceful duke would cause me to lose Marfa’s favor. If I can prove I am what I say I am, will my companions and I be allowed to enter?”

    The guard sighed deeply. “Alright priestess, it’s not in my nature to question a priestess, no matter what the company she keeps is. No offense meant, but we’ll need proof, serious indisputable proof. If you will be willing to wait here, I’ll get one of my men to fetch one of your priestess ilk. If she can vouch for you, then I’ll allow all of you entry.” He gave a solemn nod to the runner, who took off in the direction of the temple of Marfa.

    Things were looking up now, thanks to Lyassa. Though, even with the word of another Marfa priestess, could they still be allowed to enter or would they still be suspicious? “Aiden, maybe you should go find Kima and get the feather,” Naclia suggested.

    Aiden agreed with Naclia, giving a nod though he still watched the guards. “I’ll be back as quick as I can,” he said, then turned Tiash and sent the horse off at a gallop towards the point they parted with Kima and Rylan.

    After Aiden left them, Naclia sighed impatiently. She doubted he could reason with Kima, even if he found her. “Talen, is there anything else we can do?”

    Seeing Aiden head out in search of Kima made Talen believe something could be done, although it would seem that every solution they had come up with had some form of counter to it. “Hmm... My father is a highly ranked knight. If somehow I could get him to vouch for us then that would also be a good solution,” he said, bringing his hand up to his chin and thinking for a moment.

    Naclia turned her attention back towards Talen after hearing his comment. “Does he live in the city?” she asked, recalling that he said he was a native of Dragon Scale.

    Talen shook his head. “No, he lives in a house on the outskirts of Dragon Scale. Our home should be nearby, not that far of a trip if we were to make it,” he said.

    “We should keep that option in mind, then,” Naclia replied. First, they had to see if Lyassa could convince them, and if Aiden found the feather.

* * *

    Aiden left his companions behind and rode back up the hill to the point at which the group separated. Kima and Rylan were both long gone, but Aiden was a ranger and could easily track them. He dismounted Tiash and left the stallion on the side of the road. Tiash wouldn’t go anywhere.

    The elf slipped into the woods, following the direction he last saw Kima in. “KIMA!” he called, hopefully she was still close enough to hear him.

    Kima’s head bobbed up from its resting position at Aiden’s yell. She hadn’t moved from her spot in her tree, and now that Aiden was calling for her, perhaps their business in the city was done. The young wildling hopped out of her tree and stalked back onto the road and sat at the edge of the road. She cocked her head to the side to indicate that she was willing to listen to what he had to say.

    Aiden gave a start when Kima suddenly appeared. He didn’t expect her to stay there and wait. The elf stepped back out onto the road and crouched in front of her. “Kima, I need to borrow the feather,” he said, pointing at the large golden feather she was carrying with her. Hopefully she would agree, but if not, he could compromise. “You will get it back later.”

    “No,” Kima pouted. She hugged her feather to her chest and leapt back a bit. “Kima!” she barked. The little wildling didn’t want to part with her treasure.

    Aiden sighed heavily. He knew it would be hard to get it from her. “Then come with me. We can show the guards your pretty feather, and you can keep it,” he explained his second offer.

    Kima scrambled up behind Aiden and threw her arms around him. She shoved her head into his back and rubbed her face on his shirt. Due to the grubbiness of her face, some of her warpaint and dirt came off on the back of his shirt. While this was somewhat innocent, it was also her way of marking him from other women.

    Aiden grabbed onto Kima’s legs as she clung to his back. It seemed she accepted this offer. He carried her back to his horse, mounted, and helped her onto the saddle behind him. With their little piece of evidence, Aiden urged Tiash into a gallop back down to the city gate.

* * *

    Aiden came riding down from the hill sooner than expected, having found Kima so easily. The girl was riding behind him in the saddle, with her feather from Mycen. The elf rode up alongside his companions, pulling Tiash to a stop. “We have the feather,” he announced. Now to wait for the priestess and guard to come.

    The guard returned shortly after Aiden’s return with the priestess in tow. The leader of the guards took aside the priestess and talked to her about Lyassa. The murmurs were out of earshot, even for the keen ears of the elves but the overall result seemed favorable for Aiden’s party.

    The guardsman returned to Aiden’s group shaking his head. “I apologize for any rudeness incurred by this rumour, Priestess.” His eyes caught the glint of Mycen’s feather. “Th-that...” he choked on his words. “I’m sorry for any inconveniences.” He stepped out of the way to let the group into the city. “Please enjoy your stay in Dragon Scale.”

    Surprised at how readily the guards allowed them to enter, Aiden urged Tiash forward eagerly, without think of Kima’s comfort. He soon remembered the girl’s wishes and paused his horse. “Kima, do you want to come with us?” he asked her.

    Kima kept hugged into Aiden not really responding to his query. She wouldn’t have the words to answer him properly anyways. Clutching him and her feather close to her, she kept her dirty face against his back sniffing at him like a wild dog.

    Triumphantly, Naclia rode her horse into the city. “At least that’s settled,” she said, voicing her relief. “Now, where to? Should we check into an inn?” she asked, the question directed at all of her companions.

    “Hmm...” Aiden paused and waited for another reaction from Kima, but she didn’t seem to want to leave him. So, he rode on into the city. If she didn’t want to go in, she could hop off the horse of her own free will. Aiden rode Tiash up alongside Naclia. “It’s early in the day still, I say we request an audience with the duke.”

    Talen rode his horse into the city. “Yeah, finally able to head inside without a problem. may be a good idea to go stay at my parents house, rather than stay at an Inn. If that is alright with everyone,” he said looking between them, awaiting their reactions.

    “That sounds smart,” Naclia replied. “It’s not like we have a lot of money anyway. I wouldn’t mind meeting your folks,” the elf added with a sly smile.

    Eliamn had become increasingly uncomfortable in the city, and she clung to Naclia liked the ranger was an anchor. The thought of meeting Talen’s parents was uncomfortable, but preferable to sleeping in another inn.

    Aiden glanced over at Naclia with a raised eyebrow at her comment about meeting Talen’s parents. “Very well, if they don’t mind,” he said. He began to contemplate how to go about meeting with the duke. They certainly couldn’t do so with Kima tagging along, as the wildling had no place in a castle. “Perhaps we should stop by their house first? We can’t take Kima into the castle,” Aiden suggested.

    Talen nodded. “Yeah, might be the best decision seeing as how Kima gets lost so quickly,” he said with a soft chuckle. Pulling the reins on his horse and turning her around, he began his way out of the city toward the family homestead. “Well lets go, its not that far off,” he said, turning to look back at the group.

    Aiden turned Tiash to follow Talen. Naclia and Lyassa followed, but no one noticed that Saga wasn’t following. The quarter-elf was leisurely riding along the street, away from the group. He could catch up to Aiden later, but he didn’t really feel like he belonged with this group. The thought of facing Mycen was intimidating now that he thought about it, but he wanted to stay close to his brother. They were just going to a house outside of town, he could probably find it. If Talen’s father was a knight, it was probably a nice manor and he could find out where it was by asking around.

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