Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sharizeen Cor - Post 5

1400 years before the events of Through the Dark Wood, Sharizeen "Sarie" Cor walked the thriving land of Darlandis. This is the fifth installment of her tale which will have some bearing on the events to follow in the TODTOL universe. To read the story thus far on a single page,click Here.

Post 5

Kin Lash expected a battle most fierce when he and his men landed in Western Pyree. In truth, he expected a battle long before landing—Pyreeans were incredibly skilled seafarers. But, no battle came. He held the Perilous Dawn back from landing three days, awaiting any sign of the natives. He’d begun to wonder if the island’s inhabitants had somehow perished or turned coward, but just after dawn on the third day a bonfire was lit on a small raft made of freshly felled trees floating not far off in a bay the Pyreeans named Timbri. A man stood on the raft waving his arms wildly. Kin Lash sent Simlan, his second, in a skiff to search out the reason for the fire while he and his men remained on the alert. By the time Simlan reached the raft, the fire raged so greatly he had to take the man aboard the skiff. As they returned to the Perilous Dawn, the raft was fully consumed. Kin Lash noted the man wore only a blanket woven of large leaves.
Have Pyreeans become so primitive?
As they climbed aboard, the strange man addressed Kin Lash, breaking several rules of Coriaeran courtesy. “Good my lord, you are a vision and a grace from the powers on high. I am Alren Rosh—”
Several soldiers were at the ready to strike the man down should he breach custom too greatly. Their demeanor silenced him. Kin Lash stared at the stranger. “That I desire information is all that keeps you from death this moment. Never address a Coriaeran prince without first being inquired of.”
“Oh, my lord, I knew not.” He put his hand over his mouth. “And I do it again. I mean no offense. And I am still talking!” He was becoming frantic. “I mean no disrespect, I simply—”
“Silence!” Alren clapped his hand over his mouth and held it there, nodding. Kin Lash spoke calmly. “You are not Pyreean. You are Darlandan, and that intrigues me. When you respond to my questioning, do so at a more measured pace. Your anxiety is unwelcome. You will not be struck down without due solemnity if your life is to be forfeit. So, for now, know the courtesy of my ship and crew, and speak. Tell me. Why came you to meet us upon the water, and why do the Pyreeans not attack?”
Alren answered as calmly as he could. “They are dying, my lord. A plague. That is why I wear no clothing. It has all been burned and I have washed in the ocean to cleanse myself.” Kin Lash’s men all stepped back.
Kin Lash stood his ground, but his eyes flashed with rage, and he said sternly, “You would board my ship and risk the lives of my crew?”
“No! No, my lord. I and my men have not been affected. Only the natives.”
Kin Lash narrowed his eyes at the man. “How long have your men been among the Pyreeans?”
“Three months. We landed without being assailed and were begged for aid. Two days later, our ship was stolen by a group of Pyreeans who desired to escape the plague, but those who still had strength shot arrows ablaze with a flame that does not quench. My ship now rests at the bottom of the bay.”
“And your men have shown no signs of sickness?”
“None, my lord. We tend the sick and dying, but our strength and health remain.”
Kin Lash looked to the island. “Then it is no plague.”
Coriaerans were known the world over for their great understanding of the medicinal arts. Coriaeran princes and captains were required to steep themselves in such knowledge. Kin lash was uncommonly skilled as were several of the men he’d purchased for this endeavor. I will discover what is killing them before I take their chieftain. I must be sure I will not bring death home in my wake—if their Chieftain yet lives…. “Alren Rosh, is the Pyreean chief alive?”
“If I may, my lord, my name is Alren Roshketh, and yes. He is very sick, but he lives. It is a slow painful death they suffer.”
“Roshketh? I know of the city of Roshketh in your country.”
“Named for my family, my lord.”
Kin Lash arched his brow. “Then it is Lord Roshketh?”
“It may one day be, but while my father lives, I am only Alren.”
This quest may prove more profitable than intended. “I am Kin Lash. You will remain in my council.” He turned to one of his men. “Bring Lord Roshketh some of my clothes.” He smiled at Alren. “The heavens only can tell how long your father will live. Among my men you will be honored.”


Sarie woke in a lamp-lit room, recalling how she’d passed out and precisely why. Her mind was still struggling with the Court of Cor and the Gate of Sarie. She closed her eyes a moment longer then sat up. So where have you found yourself, Sarie? The walls were rough hewn stone, with great pillars standing in each corner and on either side of each door. There was an antechamber off to her left. The ceiling here was also rough hewn stone. Had the room been any smaller, Sarie would have felt trapped. As it was, she felt more than a little too closely confined. A rough wooden door was left open a crack and that provided the only relief she felt as she scanned the room. I’m not caged. Most of the furnishings were simple but well crafted: a dresser, a wardrobe, a table and chair, the bed on which she found herself. It was hard, but no worse than her bunk at Jaren’s hostel. There was a pitcher full of water and a washing bowl on the dresser. The floor was covered in a thick rug woven of crimson, and in one corner stood a tall, ornate mirror of polished metal.
Sarie stood and went to the wash basin. Pouring the water in, she was startled by a voice from the door. “You have woken. It is good.”
She turned quickly drawing a knife as she did. An old man with little hair and many wrinkles greeted her with a smile. “You needn’t worry here, Sarie. Here you are safe, though you won’t truly believe me for some time, and that is well enough. You have had many sorrows in your life and few men whose word could be trusted. In time you’ll know my word can be. I am Truash.”
Sarie returned the knife to her belt. “The Scribe?”
“Yes. The Scribe. Though you are only repeating something you have been told and have no real understanding of what it means.”
Though he spoke pleasantly and wore a genuine smile, Truash was very off-putting to a person like Sarie. “You speak true, Sir.” Her speech gained intensity as she spoke. “Nor do I understand how images from my life are scrawled on the walls of a chamber somehow named for my family and how you speak so freely of my sorrows and what I will think and what I will feel!”
Truash frowned, but the kindness did not leave his eyes. “Your temper is unexpected. I’m unaccustomed to dealing with the feminine temperament. I have not had the need. If this will help us communicate, I shall meet you tone for tone.” His intensity and volume suddenly changed. “I do not know how it is possible, save the fact that Elyon decided it should be so! I know what I know because I know it and cannot help what I know! That your life is written in stone, I have no control over.” he took several deep breaths, and Sarie stared at him momentarily disarmed.
That was strange. And, he’s not good at that.
Truash continued with a more gentle tone. “We can communicate through raised voices and raised defenses if you desire—it will be less efficient, but I have the strength for it, though not the stomach.” He smiled again. “What say you and I walk and converse like two reasonable people who would like to understand together what this all means?”
Sarie furrowed her brow. “I will walk with you, but allow me my right to feel unsure of everything around me.”
“Oh, certainly. You simply do not have a right to use those feelings to lash out at those who have only shown you kindness—regardless of your fears. I cannot accept you lashing out like that. It is improper.”
 Improper? She started building defenses in her mind when a thought came to her—almost as if from somewhere else—they have taken you in and are protecting you from the King’s second son. But, your right to be afraid is granted. Much difficulty lies ahead. And the choice to fight your guardians is yours alone. Sarie was unhappy with those thoughts, but she couldn’t deny this was the one place in the kingdom she could truly be safe from the lecherous prince. She swallowed her pride and pretended she didn’t know she was afraid of any of this. “Truash, you’re right. I took liberty that was not mine to take. I am sorry for lashing out at you.”
Truash sighed in relief. “Oh good… me too. I apologize that is—for the whole raised voice thing. I actually don’t have the strength to maintain that kind of intensity for any great length of time at my age. I was afraid that would be the way of things between us. I would have matched you there to the best of my ability, but I think a day of that and I would sleep too soundly. I would have to have Ermskan conduct the next day’s convocation.”
 Sarie was warming to the man, but couldn’t decide if he was weak or strong. The light in his eye led her to believe he was stronger than his words conveyed.

They walked the halls of Adrel Teng and he let her know which areas to avoid, mostly the bathing areas. Everything beyond that and the personal spaces of the individual monks were open to her. He said, “I understand your trepidation. Well, understand is a strong word. Your trepidation makes sense. First discovery of how one’s life can be wrapped up in such a larger story can be unnerving. When I was chosen to be the scribe, I knew I’d been born with insight, but I never knew how my life would affect others. Men and women have died at council given by the scribes of Adrel Teng, and that I knew, but holding that sort of power is fearful enough. However, having Elyon himself send words to me that alter the course of lives, I am honored by that, but humbled more greatly, and I walk with more fear than you would expect I should.”
Sarie was uncomfortable. “I don’t really believe in such things as Elyon or words from the heavens.”
“That’s alright, Sarie.” They rounded a corner into a chamber filled with statues. The first was of Sarie. It was very old. “He believes in you, clearly.”
“Scribe Anderel, almost five hundred years ago—if the inscription is to be believed.”
The statue was garbed as Sarie was that day with the exception of her cloak which was replaced by one of the monk’s cowls. Upon the base was a date and the inscription:

Grieving season draws to an end. Friendship rescues endangered friend. To Adrel to learn of what must come. And there to become what must become. ~ Scribe Anderel

Truash took her to a passage leading outside. “Go. You are safe within the forest of Adrel. The valley won’t allow you to be harmed. Spend some time in the air and the sunlight. We will talk more.”
Sarie walked the corridor toward the light pondering many things. Boujh, I wish you were here.


To be continued....

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